Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Costco Shopping List - Weight Loss Surgery Friendly?

You'd think there wouldn't be a whole lot at Costco for us after we have weight loss surgery. I mean everything is in such LARGE quantities but I've found a few things that are weight loss surgery friendly and have been very helpful on my journey. Click on the linked items to see usage ideas and recipes.

Weight Loss Surgery Fitness Healthy Foods Grocery Pantry Eggface Recipes Food Blog

Here's my Costco Shopping List:

Premier Protein Shakes (ready to drink kind, watch for sales every few months)
Ground Beef & Turkey (I portion out in 1/2 lb. sections & freeze)
Frozen Freeze Portions (Tilapia, Salmon)
Tortilla Crusted Tilapia
Silk Almond Milk 3 pk (best price),  Blue Diamond Shelf Stable Almond Milk
Foster Farms Turkey Meatballs
Cheeses (current favorites Wensleydale Cheddar with Cranberries & Fresh Asiago)
Quick'N Eat Fully Cooked Choice Angus Patties
Frozen Shrimp
Frozen Fruit (for Protein Shakes)
Tribe Single Serve Hummus
Dietz & Watson Cold Cuts (London Broil is great & can be frozen/defrosted for casseroles later)
Fresh Seafood (Shrimp, Scallops, Crab Legs, Clams, SALMON)
Rotisserie Chicken Best, biggest & cheapest!
String Cheese
Coach's Oats
Turkey Jerky
All Natural Fruit Crunchies and Almonds (purse snacks)
Canned Beans (great pantry staple)
Canned Crab Meat
Canned Chicken
Chicken Broth (sometimes Bone Broth too)
Frozen Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenderloins
Madras Lentils
Mini Peppers
Mushrooms (big ones to stuff)
Fresh Mango
Fuji, Pink Lady or Honeycrisp Apples
Driscoll's Raspberries
3 packs of Hothouse Cucumbers (my crackers)
If you use 0% Fage Greek Yogurt they carry a HUGE tub at a great price. I use 2% more.
Cello Cheese Whisps
Pro-Go Egg, Cheese, Nut Boxes
Kellogg's Special K Crustless Quiches
Crystal Light Drink Sticks Variety Tub

Photo printing for when you are dropping sizes
I've gotten a few cute outfits, underwear, socks
Lowest prices on prescriptions (P.S. You don't need a membership to get prescriptions, buy booze or get your eyes checked, little-known facts)

If I think of more I will add them but that's the main stuff. Well, there is always the "Costco Buffet" as I call it... a sample of cheese, a hunk of meat or two and I'm full. I'm a cheap lunch date.

My Weight Loss Surgery Pantry Essentials
My Trader Joe's Shopping List
My Liquid Stage Shopping List 
My Pureed Food Shopping List

Sunday, September 10, 2017

September is Self–Care Awareness Month

September is Self–Care Awareness Month, a month designated to remind us that taking care of ourselves, first and foremost, is essential. You can't be the best friend, mother, father, girlfriend, employee, boss, daughter, or son if you don't first start making sure your tank is full. I've said this before on the blog but it bears repeating like the flight attendant says, "put your oxygen mask on first before helping others."

For those of us that have had bariatric surgery, this is a reminder to...

  • Plan some healthy meals: head over to Pinterest create a board and save some recipes you want to try. Check out my Pinterest Page for some ideas.
  • Is it time to get your annual labs done? Make that appointment now. Be sure you requesting a bariatric panel (includes more than regular panel, things like iron, ferritin, and B12) 
  • Find time to do some things YOU love to do. Put "ME TIME" on the calendar. Seriously, make an appointment and treat it like an appointment with a VIP (Very Important Person) because that is what it is! 

and self-care doesn't have to be expensive. Here are a few ways I practice self-care:

  • Turn up the music and dance. 3-4 songs = 10 minutes. If you do this 3 times in a day you have a 30-minute workout. I love Spotify.
  • Catch a sunrise or a sunset (bonus if you can get both in a single day) or spend some time looking at the starry night sky (make some wishes.)
  • Research a place you hope to visit one day (or just learn more about.) 
  • Give yourself a DIY Spa Day. I'd love to do the real deal spa weekend but that's not in my budget $$$ so if it's not in yours try this alone or with someone you love.
  • Grab a box and fill it with stuff to donate. Free up some space, it's good for others and the environment too.

*** Now head over to my Instagram account to enter to win a super cool Self Care Kit: a few things to get you started taking care of and celebrating YOU!***

The Prize: For US Mailing Addresses Only

Some great items from Celebrate Vitamins (sponsored):
30 Stick Variety Pack  Celebrate Vitamins Essential Multi 3 in 1 (Multivitamin, Calcium Citrate, and Fiber) in Citrus Splash, Wild Cherry, and Raspberry-Lemonade flavors.
7-Single Serve Packets (a week of yum!) of Celebrate Vitamins Protein 20 (20 grams of whey protein isolate, 1-3 grams of sugar and only 90 -120 calories per serving) in Chocolate Mint, Peanut Butter Cookie, Iced Decaf Coffee, Cookies and Cream, Chocolate, Caramel Vanilla Swirl, and Wildberry.
Celebrate Vitamins Shaker Bottle
Celebrate Vitamins "Celebrate Life" Mug
and a few more goodies:
A super cool Bento Box (take your lunch outside)
Aloe Socks (after your DIY spa day put these on they will change your life)
Spotify Premium Service Gift Card (create a favorite songs list) and
Earbuds (take a walk with your new playlist)

To Enter: Head over to my Instagram for complete rules on how to enter this giveaway. Don't have Instagram it's free to start an account.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Healthy Snacks: Pumpkin Pie Protein Balls

To stay on track, I always have some fun protein-forward snack around. Preparation is key to making better-for-you choices. An hour spent on the weekend planning, prepping or making a few items makes it so much easier during the week when life gets busy. Mix it up, hit up Pinterest and create a board of ideas you want to try and you'll be able to try something new when you find a little time to whip something up. Here's my Pinterest page for some inspiration.

This week with all the Pumpkin Spice talk starting I modified my Apple Protein Ball recipe. These come together in no time and are perfect for tossing in a snack-sized baggie in your purse or a container in your office desk when the candy, donuts, brownies or whatever other treat someone brought to the break room are calling you.

Weight Loss Fitness Workout Bariatric Surgery Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve RNY VSG Recipes

Shelly's Pumpkin Pie Protein Balls 

1/2 cup Dehydrated Apples (you want the crunchy dehydrated type, freeze dried not dried)
3 Dates, whole, pitted
1/4 cup Protein Powder (I used Premier Protein Vanilla 100% Whey Protein Powder)
1/4 cup Oatmeal, dry
1/4 cup Coconut Flour
1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/4 cup Sugar Free Torani Syrup (any flavor, SF Pumpkin Spice, SF Caramel, SF Salted Caramel are my favs for this)
2 Tablespoons Almond Butter
2 Tablespoon Pumpkin Puree (not Pie Filling)

Whiz everything in a mini food processor till mixture comes together like a soft dough. Roll into quarter sized balls. Makes 16-18.

Optional: You can roll them in toppings to change them up. This time I made some with chopped walnuts, pecans, and almonds, and a roll into some pumpkin spice sugar (1 teaspoon Coconut Sugar or you could use Sugar Substitute & 1/4 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice) Other topping ideas: SF Chocolate Chips, Unsweetened Toasted Coconut, Crumbled Protein Bars.

Weight Loss Fitness Workout Bariatric Surgery Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve RNY VSG Recipes

More Eggface Snack Ideas (Savory & Sweet)

Pin it:

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Post Weight Loss Surgery Menus: A day in my pouch

A day in my pouch is a series of blog posts to show what a typical daily menu looks like in my post weight loss surgery world. What's on my menu today? How about a burger, fries and a shake? What?! Think that is a no-go post Bariatric Surgery? Well, in fact, I ate that very combo today. Well, I did space the shake out since I don't drink with meals. Check out my fun spin on the classic combo.

Breakfast: I started my day with a protein shake that tasted just like a Root Beer Float.

Shelly's Root Beer Float Protein Shake

1 cup Milk (any kind you use)
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1/3 of a packet of A&W Root Beer Sugar-Free Drink Mix Singles to Go!
A few cubes of Ice

Whiz on high in blender.

I used Celebrate Vitamins Vanilla Bean Protein Meal Replacement. I found the A&W drink packets at my 99 cent store but here's an online source not much more expensive if you don't have them in yours. 1/3 of a packet is perfect for me, the perfect amount of root beer flavor.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Fitness Health

More Eggface Protein Shake Recipes

Lunch: A lettuce-wrapped 1/2 a Burger Patty topped with Bacon, Cheese, Grilled Onions and Persian Cucumber Spear "Fries" with a Greek Yogurt Onion Dip.

Bariatric Surgery LowCarb Diet Weight Loss Fitness Healthy Lunches Dinners

If you have a Trader Joe's pick up some of this Onion Salt, the name is really deceiving though it's not salty at all the ingredients are granulated onion, granulated garlic, minced onion, kosher salt, green onion, and dried chives.

Seasonings Trader Joes Cooking Blog

Trust me, get some. It's sooo great to add to Greek yogurt to make protein packed savory dips for veggies or meat, or sprinkle it on egg salad or tuna salad, scrambled eggs.

More Eggface Take-Out Inspired Meals

Dinner: Leftover rotisserie chicken. Thank goodness for Costco this summer when the temperature was too hot to turn on the oven. I picked up a Rotisserie Chicken and turned it into a couple of meals. Today I had a webinar for work so I made up my bento box and sat outside with my webinar on mute so they didn't hear any birds, planes or chewing.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Lunches Fitness Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Low Carb

Pink Box (top left): Rotisserie Chicken
Orange Box (top right): Greek Yogurt Onion Dip (see recipe above, I made more at dinner)
Blue Box (bottom left): Tomatoes and Cucumbers (with a sprinkle of the Onion Salt)
Green Box (bottom right): Mini Mozzarella

More Bento Box lunches, FAQ's and an Online Source for them
My Bento Pinterest Page (Tons of Lunch Ideas)

Snacks: Coffee and I made another batch of those Frozen Faux "Cheesecake" Bites so a couple are on-deck tonight when I sign-off and go watch TV.

Sugar free Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve VSG RNY Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Diabetes

I saw on my Amazon Prime account I can watch old episodes of Amazing Race and my Mum who loves the show never saw the first season so we are watching that and LOL I C.R.S. (Can't Remember Shit) so it's new to me too. If you have an Amazon Prime account you should check out all the awesome shows and movies included each month (or Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial) It's not cheap each year but 2-day shipping is really cool and free shows and movies are a bonus.

More Days in my Pouch

P.S. Check back I have a post going up with a few other fun, new (or at least new to me and hopefully some of you too) product finds. Oh, and it might be time for a giveaway this weekend. and and most importantly, sending prayers for safety to my many friends and family in the path of Hurricane Irma this weekend and those in Texas still feeling the results of Harvey. 2017 has been a hard one... we deserve some good things now. Sending wishes for them to all. xo Shelly

Friday, August 25, 2017

Healthy Snacks: Frozen Faux "Cheesecake" Bites

In anticipation (more like dread) of an impeding triple digit heatwave we have headed our way I made a batch of these Frozen Faux "Cheesecake" Bites. They taste like a little bite of frozen cheesecake but are a much healthier choice. I store them in a zipper bag in the freezer and anytime I need to cool down during the week ahead these easy to make, protein-packed, delicious treats will be ready.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Sugar Free Recipes Desserts

Shelly's Frozen Faux "Cheesecake" Bites  

1/2 cup Cottage Cheese
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt (any flavor, I used plain)
2 Tablespoons Sugar Free Torani Syrup (any flavor)
1/2 a Banana

Optional Base: 1 Crumbled Protein Bar
Optional Toppings: Nuts, Sugar Free Chocolate Chips, Sugar Free Jam, More Crumbled Protein Bar, Sugar Free Ice Cream Toppings, Cereal

Pulverize a protein bar into crumbs (the wafer or crispy ones work best: Powercrunch, Celebrate Vitamins ENS 2 in 1, Premier Fiber, Quest Cereal Bars) I just stick it in a quart size bag and hit it a few times with a wooden meat mallet, pressing a pan on top works too. Spoon about a teaspoon or so into the bottom of a mini muffin.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Sugar Free Recipes Desserts

Blend cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, SF syrup and 1/2 a banana in a blender. Spoon mixture on top of protein bar crumbs.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Sugar Free Recipes Desserts

Top with whatever toppings you love. Freeze several hours or over night. When frozen pop out and store in zipper baggie in freezer.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Sugar Free Recipes Desserts

Cooks Note: either silicon or metal muffin pans will work. Silicon is easiest for releasing as they bend. Metal just requires a little time defrosting or I just place it on a warm dish towel (wet towel slightly & nuke for 15 seconds) and they'll pop right out.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Sugar Free Recipes Desserts

If you are wanting ice cream this is a GREAT alternative. Stay cool friends!

More Eggface Sweet and Savory Snacks
More Eggface Desserts

Thursday, August 24, 2017

In Case of Emergency: Essentials for the Weight Loss Surgery Post-Op

Watching the Weather Channel and seeing impending Hurricane Harvey in the Gulf got me thinking of my friends in the path of the storm. I hope they are safe and prepared if they are sheltering in place or have the basic emergency essentials in a bag ready to toss in the car if they are told they need to evacuate.

We don't have hurricanes in Southern California, our threats are earthquakes and wildfires but really everyone needs to be prepared. Here's some of the items in mine designed with the weight loss surgery post-op in mind.

Disaster Preparedness Emergency Kit Food Safety Evacuation

List of Emergency Essentials: 

Plenty of Water & SF Drink Sticks
Ready-to-Drink Protein Shakes (shelf stable) or Protein Powder Travel Packets (easily mixed in a bottle of water or Blender Bottle Shaker)
Boxed Bone Broth or Soup
Tuna, Salmon, Crab Packets
Canned Beans or Veggies
Protein Bars & Snacks
Roasted Edamame
Beef, Turkey, Chicken Jerky
Peanut Butter
No Sugar Added Applesauce or Fruit Cups
Can Opener
Weather Radio
First Aid Supplies
A Guide to Basic First Aid and CPR (or better yet take a course)
Your Bariatric Vitamins & any Medications you are currently taking
Copies of your Important Information (emergency phone #'s, maps, addresses, important account #'s/passwords, medical info, insurance info, a portable flash drive with your import info & family photos)
Blankets, Sleeping Bags, Hot Hands
Basics like Toilet paper, Soap, Disposal Tooth Brushes, Tissues/Paper Towel, Trash Bags
Wrench or Pliers to turn of utilities (if needed)
Fire Extinguisher
Cellphone w/back-up battery
Socks and closed-toe Shoes

Remember the special needs of those in your home:
Pet Food & Supplies
Baby Food & Supplies
Extra Hearing-Aid Batteries, Glasses, Folding Cane, etc.
Kids: Comfort Item, Small Book/Crayons

Every few months set a calendar reminder to rotate items in your kit. You wouldn't want the you-know-what to hit the fan only to find out your can of beans expired in 1998.

Great Resource for Checklists and Planning Info

Remember friends and family will be worried so when you can use Twitter or Facebook to share that you're OK.

Stay safe everyone! Feel free to comment with any items you add to your kit.

Me, 5 years old looking bored with it all, day after Hurricane Belle, in front of the tree that fell across my road, Center Moriches, Long Island.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Protein Packed Snacks for the Solar Eclipse

Today all of North America will be treated to a total eclipse of the sun. Basically we're standing around with goofy glasses on waiting to get mooned ;) so I made some protein packed snacks (well more like Brunch for me as the excitement starts around 10:15) for the occasion.

Ancient eclipses were viewed as a sign that the Gods were angry and were taking away the sun as punishment. You can make these shrimp as angry as you like by adding more seasoning.

Shelly's Simple Spicy Sauteed Shrimp 

1 pound 21/25 Raw Shrimp, Peeled & Deveined 
1 teaspoon (or more depending on how angry you want the the make the Gods or your Guests) Cajun Seasoning
1 Tablespoon Butter

Place shrimp in a non-stick pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray lightly. Cook on medium heat till shrimp are start to turn pink, about 2 minutes. Flip and add butter and seasoning. Toss till coated and fully cooked (just about a minute more.) 

Shelly's Solar Eclipse Mini Protein Muffins

1 Egg, beaten
3 Tablespoons Milk
2 Tablespoons Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup (find in coffee aisle I used this)
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
3 Tablespoons Multigrain Pancake Mix, dry
2 Tablespoons Almond Flour 
1/4 cup Vanilla Protein Powder
Pinch salt

Mix egg, milk, syrup and oil (applesauce or cottage cheese can sub for oil but 1 T divided between 12 muffins is really not a lot) and combine thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix pancake mix, almond flour, pudding mix, I used Premier Protein Vanilla 100% Whey Protein Powder and salt.

Tip dry into wet and stir till combined. Pour into a non stick mini muffin pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 13-14 minutes. Edges will be golden, tops dry (toothpick test: stick a toothpick into the center of your muffin. If there is wet batter still on the toothpick, it needs more time in the oven. If it comes out clean, your muffins are done! )

For Chocolate version: Replace the Sugar Free Vanilla Pudding mix with SF Chocolate and the Vanilla Protein with Chocolate, everything else remains the same.

Something fun to do: slice them in half, smear some SF jam or nut butter on the bottom half of the muffin and top with a muffin top of the other flavor.

and because I could resist...

Eggface's Eggclipse Popsicles

Hard-cooked Eggs
Bagel Seasoning (Everything but the Bagel Seasoning at Trader Joe's or Bagel Spice)
Wooden Sticks or Plastic Forks

Well I'm all set... Goofy Glasses, Snacks, Tunes... and tonight I'm going to pop in my go-to movie for all celestial events. Happy Eclipse Everyone!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Your Weight Matters YWM2017 Wrap-Up - Day 3 and 4

The Your Weight Matters National Convention is one of the highlights of my year. It helps me both with my personal health goals and my commitment to using my voice to help others affected by obesity. Please join us next year... July 19-22, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. You will be so glad you did!

If you missed my Day 1 and 2 Wrap-Up


We started the morning with Internationally-acclaimed and super cool Veterinarian, Dr. Ernie Ward who shared his latest research on pet obesity and the connection to human obesity. We know our environment plays a role in obesity and it often effects multiple members of a family including our fur babies. Some interesting connections to human obesity in the marketing of food, ease of access, misconceptions about what is "healthy" and even shaming and stigma. Dr. Ward has a great YouTube channel if you are pet lover I highly recommend you check it out.

Then Dr. Jason Ong talked to us about the current research in how sleep and obesity are related. As a person who barely sleeps (never was a great sleeper pre-op: Sleep Apnea/GERD post-op: 4 hours is a good night) I learned so much and have a lot of work to do in this area.

Sleep and Obesity Connections

after a little break to visit exhibits and the photo booth...

YWM2017  Joe Nadglowski Michelle Shelly Vicari

We were back with Dawn Jackson-Blatner, you may recognize her name from ABC's show "My Diet is Better than Yours" and her book, "The Superfood Swap." Her energy is amazing and she always brings awesome insights. I love these slides from her presentation. Are you one of these Mean Girls (or Guys)?

This is something I follow personally. What to do when LIFE HAPPENS... Step one: Forgive because LIFE HAPPENS. Step two: Be Curious.... Why? What happened? What can I do next time?

I've said this a million times on the blog... if you make a not-so-great-choice learn from it and put a plan in place so when faced with a similar situation there will be a better outcome. Regret, self-hate, shame and guilt are useless energy and science even tells us harmful to our health. Use the screw-up worksheet, learn from it and MOVE ON.

I love talking about online resources and I got to share some of my favorites today and a few new ones. I used my most recent Your Weight Matters magazine article contribution and blog post to start the conversation about all the ways technology can help us in our journey to better health. I also touched on something I shared in my Thursday session about the power of social media to share our story, advocate for issues we believe in. Did You Know? that as few as 30 tweets will get the attention of Congress about an issue. Our voices are powerful!

Presentations YWM2017

The afternoon again is full of decisions and being a food blogger I had to attend the big nutrition panel... with some of my favorite RD's. Happy to say they shared things I am doing... go me! but hearing that helps reinforce those ideas and I always love the practical tips and new resources they share.

I had a little time to answer some Wall of Insight questions (we changed out the questions several times during the day and the insights will be used in future programming) and spend time with new and old friends as I charged up my phone so I was ready for the evening event.

Mmmm Celebrate Vitamins Lemon Crunch Essential Protein 2 in 1 Bars are the bomb!

Oh get this fun thing... In the morning I tweeted about being the first in line for coffee at the hotel Starbucks and when I went up to my room to change I found this awesome gift from the hotel waiting (wasn't I just talking about the power of social media) so cool!

Saturday evening is our Award Ceremony, a chance to honor Obesity Action Coalition members who have helped in a major way throughout the year. The Nomination Committee keeps the winners close to the vest so I learned the winners as they were announced but looking back at the year they all have made such wonderful contributions to the OAC it's no wonder they were nominated. Some pictures from the evening...

Award Ceremony Annual Meeting Patient Event

I went out with a few pals and finally got some of my favorite Chargrilled Oysters (even if you hate oysters you have to try them this way) and stayed up waaaay too long (sorry Dr. Ong I should have been sleeping) in the lobby laughing and chatting. It wouldn't be New Orleans if there wasn't a funny drunk story. At one point in the evening I looked over and saw 2 wobbly, young men attempting to wheel/steal the life size fiberglass bull art installation in the lobby, they were approached by hotel security as they neared the elevator. I heard them ask the young men nicely to release the bull and sharing with them that it was $1500 to replace it if they broke it. They wisely set the bull down and the guards wheeled it back across the lobby. One of the young men stumbled over to our group and told us as if to warn us "that's an expensive cow" just in case we might have thought to try the same shenanigans ;) LOL Thanks. We asked security if that happens often and they laughed, shook their heads and said, "Never, that was a first!"

I finally got to bed at about 2 AM with my alarm set for 4:30 to pack my bags so I could check out right after our Sunday AM event. I am entirely too old to stay up this late.


Breakfast was a Premier Protein shake on ice (some people do mimosas I do protein shakes) while watching the sunrise for the last time in New Orleans (well at least on this trip, I love NOLA I'll be back.) I put on my official YWM2017 t-shirt and head down for our final event...

As a final send-off for attendees, the OAC hosted a special Sunday morning event: ENGAGE! Celebrating the OAC's Community. Amber and I shared our favorite memories, moments and lessons from the weekend and asked attendees to share theirs as well... lots of laughs and a few tears! We bonded one last time before leaving New Orleans. It was like the last morning of summer camp!! I wanted to see my Mum and kitties and sleep in my own bed but I wanted to put everyone in my carry-on bag and take them with me too!

Obesity Action Coalition YWM2017

YWM2017 Obesity Action Coalition

What an amazing weekend... and usually we have to wait a whole year before we get to see each other but since the date of #YWM2018 has moved up into July... we are T-minus 11 months till we are together in the real world again!! See you in Denver! Till then where to find me...

The World According to Eggface Blog

If you did not attend and want to keep up with the plans for next year's event be sure to sign up for Convention e-alerts and follow the Obesity Action Coalition on Facebook tell them Eggface sent you!

Official Storify Summary from Saturday and Sunday with more pictures and videos.

Your Weight Matters YWM2017 Wrap-Up - Day 1 and 2

I'm back from the Your Weight Matters National Convention. What an amazing weekend! If you ever get an opportunity to attend... do it! You will not regret it. It's 3+ days of awesome education, world renowned speakers and the best people you will ever meet. For me, attending makes me feel energized and recommitted to my personal health goals and my commitment to advocacy efforts in combating weight bias and increasing access to care and education about obesity.

So many great memories from the weekend. I left for New Orleans early Wednesday morning. This is me at the San Diego airport barely awake...

Bariatric Surgery Social Media Health Weight Loss Journey

It was a long travel day. I was thankful I packed Mini Pecan Praline Protein Muffins they kept me going till I was able to grab some dinner... Caesar Salad with a Creole Crab Cake (minus croutons, dressing on the side) at the hotel when I arrived at about 8 PM.

Thursday... Woke up before the sun to give everyone a sneak peek of the Registration Area and get some much needed coffee.

We had an Obesity Action Coalition Board of Directors meeting. It was so nice to see everyone. We mostly communicate through phone meetings so it's always nice to have face to face time. We've got some great projects in the works and it was a chance to touch base on those and get some updates from all our committees. Oh and I was honored to be elected Vice Chair at the meeting...

YWM2017 Annual Event Board of Directors

We had a little break for lunch joined 2 friends in the French Quarter. I had a delicious Grilled Shrimp Salad (when in NOLA seafood is my jam) and then it was back to the hotel for our Advocacy Training Sessions. I was excited to share the reasons why sharing our personal stories is such a powerful tool  as well as how to use social media in our advocacy efforts. The slides of that session will be available soon and I'll be sure to add the link so check back.

We had a great Welcome Reception and the first opportunity to tour the exhibit hall. We all wore shirts from our home state... such a fun ice breaker.

Friends Support Health


Welcome Attendees

We started with a strong and empowering message out of the gate from Amber Huett-Garcia, Obesity Action Coalition Chair and Dr. Scott Kahan, OAC's Co-chair of the YWM2017 Program Committee about why it's important to challenge the unfair and harmful bias the world too often shows those affected by obesity, Dr. Kahan shared this...
"Weight bias can be the most unfair, inappropriate, and destructive part of living with obesity. But worse still is the harm that comes from believing that bias. We stigmatize ourselves and start internalizing the bias. This adds insult to the direct physical injury of obesity. We must come together as a community to support each other and fight all that bias." 
Dr Scott Kahan Amber Huett-Garcia Michelle Vicari

There is no doubt my obesity affected my health but while we fight to regain our health it is awful that we are faced with weight bias and stigma in so many areas of society... in the media, education, employment and unconscionably in the place we should feel the most safe in health care settings. We all know the narrative that the world has created for us... we eat too much and move too little, we are lazy, weak-willed and have poor self-discipline... I won't go on... now not only does the science NOT support that but this is far, far, far from the truth of any one I have ever met affected by obesity.

Let's do an experiment...

When you are next in a store like Costco or Sam's do this: pick up a 150 pound bag of something... rice or beans or dog food and try and run... but now think about doing it when you are ill and keep that bag with you for many years, at work, at school, try and fit in this world with it's airplane seats and tray tables, student desks, hospital gowns, blood pressure cuffs and turnstiles... oh and on occasion as you are carrying that weight have someone call you names, or treat you differently, or pass you over for a promotion, or assume and make judgments, make disgusted faces or jokes or ask questions like "have you ever tried dieting and exercise?"

Wow, really?! That never crossed my mind *eye-roll*

Having to deal with bias and stigma like the situations I shared is the current sad reality for many affected by obesity. It's wrong and unfair and as you can imagine takes it's toll. I have hope and am determined that one day much like those with depression were once told "just get over it" that as we gain a better understanding of obesity and it's causes those affected will face less stigma, shame and blame. Till then we call it out when we see or experience it and find understanding and support in each other through groups like the Obesity Action Coalition and events like the Your Weight Matters National Convention.

Final thought... I'm sure you know many people who have "normal BMI's" that live extremely unhealthy lives. The size of a person's body does not tell the whole story. I have a friend who started her on her health journey at 400+ pounds. Her BMI is currently in the "clinically obese" range but not only has she lost 200 pounds, she works out daily, eats super healthy, has done extensive work on her emotional health, has stellar labs but society looking at a snapshot of her now might wrongly assume she is unhealthy just based on her size. They would be WRONG! In fact, the only thing you can tell for sure by using a person's size to make assumptions about them are your own biases. Check yourself ;)

Busting bias is one of the reasons I continue to share my story and during the Thursday Training Session I shared the reasons why I hope many more will. I know it's hard to put yourself out there but there is so much to gain for ourselves and others. I will not accept the story that someone else has written for me because my weight tells you nothing about me.

Here are 2 slides from my Thursday presentation...

Patient Stories Advocacy  Why Tell Your Story  #YWM2017
Patient Stories Advocacy  Why Tell Your Story  #YWM2017

The remainder of Friday was equally as awesome. We learned about the science behind diets and exercise. I would love those "just eat less, move more" folks to sit in on those presentations because... umm no... sorry, it's not that simple. We humans are unique snowflakes, every one of us is different and we respond differently to diets and exercise. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a one-size-fits-all solution but there isn't... it's truly about finding what works for you and... then once you do FYI since obesity is a chronic disease. Chronic: long lasting, recurring, difficult to eradicate. It will require chronic, assessing (is what I am doing working?) and adjustment (what more or different can I do?) Life happens and we adjust the sails.

After the main sessions, I was honored to share in one our Coffee/Lunch with the Experts sessions the tips that have worked for me over the years for Staying on Track in Social Situations. You don't get the awesome sharing and conversation that took place but here's my handout from the session.

Tips and Tricks for Staying on Track in Social Situations Health Weight

We rocked it out a few times throughout the day to get the blood pumping! Loved these 10 minute exercise breaks between sessions.

Afternoons are full of hard choices as 2 sessions are going on at the same time. A standout for me was the session on: Looking at Your Nutritional Needs after Bariatric Surgery. I can't stress to you how important taking your vitamins and keeping up with your labs are. That's the commitment we made when we chose our treatment. If you aren't doing it... again... adjust the sails.

Speaking of vitamins... I love the handouts Celebrate Vitamins were giving out in the Exhibit Hall along with sample packs. You get so much awesome swag. I always tell people to save room in their luggage on the way home.

YWM2017 Your Weight Matters

In the late afternoon, we had a great session (ticketed, with all $$ going to the Your Weight Matters Scholarship fund) with nationally-acclaimed motivational speaker, psychotherapist and Convention favorite, Merrill Littleberry (you've heard me share about her before) who gave us some great tools for picking ourselves up after life's inevitable hits.

Then it was party time... we put on our masks and feathers, danced, took photos, enjoyed our new and old friends. We had even had a New Orleans traditional "Second Line" parade. So much fun!!

Friday Night Fun

Friday Night Fun

and we revealed the location & dates of next year's event...

Official Storify Summary from Thursday and Friday with more pictures and videos.

My Day 3 and 4 Summary.