The Trip Details

I am so thankful to everyone for voting my (and Mum's) way to NYC. Wished I could have smuggled everyone in my carry-on but even with all the weight we've collectively lost I think I would have been over the limit ;) instead I'll do a play-by-play blog entry so you feel like you were there without the jet lag and crazy singing girl. This is a long one folks (you can click on the pics to get a closer look)...

Friday: We arrived later than we expected. Tons of weather delays. We walked the neighborhood a bit, found a restaurant and I ordered the most unbelievably good Crab Bisque. Explored the hotel. Progresso Soup put us up at the W on Lexington Ave (directly across from the Waldorf Astoria) I'll give some pros and cons in case anyone is planning on visiting NYC

Pros: Bliss Spa toiletries and a super nice housekeeper who hooked us up with extras. All the staff was great. Killer shower... like a rain storm. Near everything. Subway stop a block away. Grand Central Station in walking distance. Lobby is gorgeous. Hopping cocktail lounge (Whiskey Blue) at night. OMG hot guys everywhere. In the AM the lounge is transformed into a tranquil zen experience with yummy clove, star anise scents and ethereal music.

Cons: No coffee makers in room (are they high???) Starbucks across the street but still. Total insanity. $16.95 per night internet charge (hence the lack of posts) Artwork in the room was errr bizarre... we finally decided it was the side of a woman's torso, maybe? The 3-D hallway art by my floor's elevator was bizarre too looked like a spinal column you'd find in the doctors office. I'm not a modern art lover. The beds at the W are hella hard... like play a game of Quarters on them hard. Mum loved it. My post weight loss surgery assbone was not happy. More pros than cons though.

Saturday: Met the staff from the PR Firm (Kelly & Melissa were awesome), General Mills Progresso Soup guys (also super cool), and the camera & film crew that would be following us through the day (nice group) at 7:15 AM in lobby of the hotel. This was the first time I got to meet the other 2 winners of the contest Amanda & Julie (super nice ladies.)

We all piled into a limo (no sunroof, bummer because you know I would have pulled a Tom Hanks in Big.) We were whisked off to the Louis Licari Salon. They do the Today Show makeovers. They had breakfast waiting for us... of course that meant a ton of bagels and yummy looking pastries (I was strong and just had coffee) I made a plate for my Mum with half a bagel & cream cheese, some fruit, and she said the fruity muffin top thingee I picked for her was one of the best muffins she ever ate.

I was told to change into a provided robe. First WOW moment of the day... at my heaviest I used to FREAK when I was told I had to change into a robe or hospital gown. They never fit. I remember one doctor's appointment after informing the nurse that the gown was not adequate to cover my parts... the nurse let out this big sigh, shook her head, took off down the hall and came back and tossed me another gown... one to wear the right way and one to wear on the back. Not my finest hour. So as I stood in the changing room of the Louis Licari salon getting ready for my day of beauty I recalled that experience as I tied the tie of that silky black robe (with oodles of room to spare) Yay! Thank God for weight loss surgery!

First up was a manicure and pedicure with Elena. I went with wild blue toes and conservative pale pink fingers. After the mani & pedi I met my color consultant Dennise and we talked about what she was going to do with my color. I get blonde highlights every few months... uh oh the secret is out I'm not a natural blonde ;) and I wanted to still stay light (I'm a SoCal girl after all.) Dennise suggested evening things out, adding a little more gold, so the difference in regrowth shouldn't be as obvious. It came out great. They even dyed my eyebrows.

Then it was off to my 1 1/2 hour facial and massage with Vera. I was a little nervous because while I was getting washed out from my color I chatted briefly with Amanda and she had just come from her facial... she said it hurt and wasn't looking happy. So I wasn't sure what I was in for. It was painful at times, every part of me was waxed... and I do mean every part. I had some sucking and prodding done but lots of delicious smelling goops and a great massage made up for the ouch moments. No pain, no gain. In the end my face felt fantastic. I literally glowed.

After the facial, I went upstairs to meet my stylist Lena. We talked about my hair condition and how she would cut it to make the curl have a bit more bounce. She was like Edward Scissorhands and I was really really pleased with the final product... not a dramatic change. It was very me (low maintenance, wash & go) but better, more polished.

Somewhere during hair I got to select lunch. I ordered a Chopped Chicken Salad. It was delivered just after the cut and we pressed pause for a moment to eat. My salad was delicious. Will definitely try and replicate it. I'll blog the results. Mum ordered a salad and loved hers too. We sat and watched the activity and chatted with some of the staff and other clients... get this... this staff member comes up to me and says she has the same exact first & last name as me. We established that she was Sicilian too and had relatives (she didn't really know) in the town we used to live in NY. So a relative perhaps. Bizarre. Small world.

After hair the final step was makeup... its funny I was the most nervous about this. I rarely wear makeup. A little concealer and lip gloss is the extent of my beauty routine. I was really happy with the way it turned out. Everyone at Louis Licari was amazing and super nice.

I should mention during and between all these procedures the camera crew (photographer was a hottie, I dig bald guys) and the video crew would come around and snap photos and ask us questions about the procedure we just had or how we are feeling about the day so far. Soooo I am eagerly awaiting Progresso sending those!! They said they would as soon as they get them. Till then here's a sneak peek of my after. The professional photos are soooo much better. For comparison. Here I am the day before I left for NYC. Note the scary skunk line desperately in need of a dye job hair & split ends...

After the makeover, more video interviews and photos we got back in the limo and head over to Saks Fifth Avenue. We went up to the VIP room where the stars go. We each had a private shopping consultant who talked to us about our body type and looks that were in right now. We had $1,000 Visa gift card to spend on whatever we wanted. Seems like a lot but you are talking $750 blouses and $500 scarves. I tried on a few items and was close to buying a $1,000 Marc Jacobs bag (but would be too afraid to ever use it) finally I decided to hold on to the $ and buy a ton of things I actually would use at TJ Maxx when I got home (more my speed)

After the shopping we took more pics and did a final interview and then said our goodbyes. Amanda and Julie looked AMAZING. The final interview was near Rockefeller Center, about a 20 minute walk to Empire State Building which was the plan for the evening so we skipped the limo back to the hotel and walked to the Empire State Building.

I was so glad to get to go at night, I'd only ever been during the day on school field trips. You guys know I am a sucker for romantic movies... Affair to Remember remember how Carey Grant and Deborah Kerr planned to meet on the top of the "nearest thing to heaven we have in New York" July 1st at 5 o'clock and Sleepless in Seattle Jonah running away to meet Annie on Valentine's Day. I know I'm a goober but I was so jazzed. My Mum pointed to the area, near the coin operated telescopes Jonah (Sleepless in Seattle) left his backpack. We laughed and commented that if Jonah's backpack was really left the whole building and city block would be shut down and bomb sniffing robots would have decimated poor Howard the Bear.

We decided we were up for the walk and hoofed it the 25 blocks from Empire State back to Hotel. Another WOW moment from the girl who couldn't walk the pier. We stopped for coffee at some point during the walk Mum had a cinnamon scone (they don't have these in our local Starbucks) and somewhere alone the route we bought a Beef Kabob from a street vendor. I know, I know taking our lives in our hands.

Sunday: Bright and early, we grabbed a taxi to the Battery Park area.

We had tickets (ordered them online) for the 12 noon ferry to the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island but since we had a few hours we walked over to Ground Zero to pay our respects to the heroes that were killed on September 11th.

Have to share this...

A lot of things sucked about being fat but I have two big "straw that broke the camels back" wake-up call moments that led me to decide to have weight loss surgery. The first most of you know was my Dad dying at 67 years old of heart failure and sleep apnea and the subsequent day I was diagnosed with sleep apnea when I was 34. I knew I needed to make some changes or I was more than likely doomed to the same fate and maybe even earlier. The second "straw" though happened while watching the news coverage during 9/11. I remember listening to Charles Gibson on Good Morning America reporting that people who worked in the towers were having to evacuate the building, that some had to walk down 86+ flights of stairs, trudging down floor after floor, in single file, having to squeeze past firefighters in full uniform carrying hoses and emergency equipment on their way up to help those on upper floors. He said with no cabs, subways, or buses running to the area the workers were walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. I remember thinking... I can't walk the length of the mall without needing several breaks, there is NO WAY I could do that at this weight. It took 5 more years till I had weight loss surgery but the horrific events of that day and that news report was definitely was a major factor in my decision to change my life.

It was an emotional morning... after Ground Zero we took the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. A memorable experience for my Mum. Her and my Dad (and sis and brother) immigrated from England in the 60's. She has shared with me how scary it is seeing your country get smaller and smaller and then disappear through a boat window, off to the unknown in a new country. Lady Liberty was the first glimpse of the US they saw. She is an awesome greeter. We had tickets to go to the top and the view of the city from the Statue is amazing.

When we docked back in Manhattan we took the subway to Grand Central Station (tons of gourmet foodie shops)

I bought a hunk of my favorite cheese: Burrata from Murray's Cheese Shop, some Cold Cuts from a Deli and we walked back to the hotel and had a hotel room carpet picnic. If you haven't had Burrata seek it out. Just save up those fat grams ;) well worth every one.

We spent the evening at the hotel. At some point I went out exploring alone and found a killer Japanese Deli where I bought myself Ahi Tuna Sashimi and since she's not a fan I picked up some NY Pizza for Mum and we ate our takeout looking at the views from the window of our hotel room.

Monday: We were up bright and early to catch the train to Boston. Boston is my second favorite city in the US (San Diego is first) and Mum had never been there. Since we were so close we added a few days to the trip. What a beautiful ride. Connecticut is gorgeous and the train goes right along the coast through New London, Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport... lovely scenery, trees, nature, sea birds. Total recommend this. When we got to Boston, we took the T (the oldest subway system in the US) a few stops to our hotel. I got a great deal at The Millennium. What an awesome hotel. Pros: Ummm everything ;) No seriously, I loved this hotel. It was beautiful, the staff was awesome, the room was huge and we had a great view. It was near everything (across the street from Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall, a block from the North End (Boston's Little Italy) and the Harbor.) Yes, they had a coffee maker AND there was a Starbucks across the street AND they had free awesome coffee in the lobby in the AM. Super soft beds. Huge bathroom with rain head shower. Totally recommend.

We got in pretty early and so we explored the North End, Paul Revere House, The Old North Church (remember one if by land, two if by sea)

Bought Mum a yummy Italian pastry, we sat in the bakery and I was content with the amazing smells. I eat vicariously through others, I like to watch people eat and enjoy something even the things I don't/can't/shouldn't eat and am strangely satisfied by that. This is a post weight loss surgery lucky break I think. I remember the last time I was at that bakery (a trip I took in my college years) I ate 2 pastries and took a bag of cookies for the road. Times have changed. For dinner we ate juicy, cheesy, gooey Mushroom & Swiss Burgers. I had mine wrapped in lettuce. After dinner we looked through all the shops in Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market.

Hung out in Quincy Square till late drinking coffee, listening to a seriously good sax player street musician and people watching.

Tuesday: We woke up and got coffee and breakfast. I had a Starbucks Spinach Egg White Feta Wrap. Before it got too hot we walked most of the Freedom Trail and explored the Boston Commons (The Swan Boats, Frog Pond, The "Make Way for Ducklings" ducks which had been tagged the night before (cleaned by the time we saw them) with the letters BP in protest of the Gulf Oil Spill. There's a better way to get your point across than defacing beautiful public art.

We got back to Quincy Market and we decided to get tickets for an Old Town Trolley Tour all around Boston. Best idea ever. It was one of those hop on, hop off trolleys. We hit all the major areas, jumped off explored an area and then jumped back on. Stumbled on a Farmer's Market (near Trinity Church)

I especially loved all the consignment shops and galleries on Newbury Street. We went into Lush and both had the most unbelievable free hand/arm treatment. I wrote down all the names of the products they used and when I have some spare dough will be getting them. Mum loved it and said her hands have never felt so good (for days after too.) I figure we can do a girlie girl night once a month and give ourselves the treatment.

The Products:
Lemon Flutter Cuticle Butter
Ocean Salt Cleanser
Buffy Body Butter
Dream Cream

The brownstone houses. I win the lottery and I am sooooo buying one of these beauties.

The tour hits every major site: Fenway, the new TDGarden where the Bruins play, Back Bay, Copley Square, Symphony Hall, it even goes over the bridge to Cambridge (where I stayed on my first trip to Boston), we got off at the seaport because our tour included a 45 minute cruise of the Boston Harbor. I was tempted to stop at Starbucks and get a Tea Latte and toss it overboard in commemoration of our Forefathers but I restrained myself ;) plus ummm a $4 Tea Latte in the harbor. I think their tea was 15¢

The cruise was great. It was super hot that day for Boston (90°'s) so nice to get the cool harbor breezes. Great city views and a look at Old Ironsides (USS Constitution), the oldest commissioned warship afloat.

Thank goodness for my Emergency Travel Snacks. Those were lunch. For dinner we picked up take out: Bacon wrapped Scallops and Clam Chowder (chowdah) for Mum and Scallops and Lobster Bisque (potato-less) for me. Mum had Boston Cream Pie. It was Idol finale night so we watched Lee and Crystal and hung out.

Wednesday: Head over to the train station for our return trip to NYC, tried to change tickets to leave from Logan but Southwest wanted a $178 per ticket change fee so we had to return to NYC to fly home. We ate at Au Bon Pain before we boarded. I had the Steel Cut Oatmeal with a few cranberries and pistachios. Yum. The train was lovely with the exception of the last hour when the chick behind us started to sing to her iPod. Unfortunately she was no American Idol heck she wasn't even a Stamford, Connecticut Idol which is about the city where I was tempted to grab her iPod and hurl it off the train. Loud, screechy, off-key, escaped mental patient maybe? Who knows?! I mean I have been known to burst into song in public (I do a mean "Don't Cry for Me Argentina") but this was 30+ minutes of fingernails down a chalkboard, animal in heat, warbling torture. I counted backwards from 100 and went to my happy place. A few more minutes though and I might have needed bail money ;)

Got into Penn Station (still smells like it did when I was a kid, a mix of fuel and urine, lovely) We head over to the third and final hotel of the trip the Doubletree (Lexington Ave) right next door to the W but way cheaper. Which is why I chose it but I wouldn't recommend it. I normally love Doubletrees but this one was old and gray and in serious need of a facelift. We went out exploring and window shopping and dinner: Salmon Sashimi (from that Japanese Deli again) for me, Meatball Hero for Mum and some Grilled Veggies (for both of us). We got back to the hotel in time for the American Idol winner announcement and had Cottage Cheese with Pineapple during Idol results for dessert. I would have been happy with either winner but Lee got my cougar-vote. Roar.

Thursday: Early AM Shuttle to LaGuardia. There were weather delays of 2 hours but thankfully our connection was delayed too. We had nice crews, good magazines, fully charged iPod (nope I didn't sing.) My eating was sketchy though. I survived on nuts, seeds, coffee and water all day. Got home and realized we had nothing in the fridge. Sleep won over food. I guess this day will make up for that huge hunk of Burrata on Sunday ;)

It was an AWESOME trip. So thankful I got to share this experience with my Mum. Thank you to Progresso Soup for hosting the contest and you guys for voting for me. I will never forget it xo

I'm back!

In the words of my Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger... I'm back!

What an awesome trip! My Mum and I are super wiped out but it was soooo much fun! I'm in the process of unpacking, doing laundry, picking up mail, answering emails, pulling massive weeds, watering the thirsty plants, uploading pics, and writing the blog entry about the wonderful week we had. I'm also waiting on pictures from Progresso (they took tons) since I couldn't take them during the makeover but I wanted to say hello before the cavalry got sent out. I'm here. Just catching up and fighting jet lag.

I actually even managed to cook last night... well sort of... I made Cold Cut Roll-ups and a 5 minute cake. I had to run to the store to get a few things we had nothing in the house. We did such a great job of using up everything in the fridge and pantry before we left. So great a job that our choices before the grocery store run were like a really bad episode of "Chopped" Open your baskets... and we have... protein powder, canned beans, frozen chicken, sugar free jello, and soy sauce. Not gonna make a masterpiece with that ;)

I was really missing sweet stuff. You can find sugar free desserts when you are out & about but it's hard to find sugar free without oodles of carbs and white flour so after a week of nothing much sweet I needed a fix and made this 5 minute cake and it may be my favorite one yet. I know I've said that before but this was sooooo good. It's very Sicilian with its traditional combination of orange and almond. Well and it was made by a 1/2 Sicilian girl so... there you go ;)

Shelly's Sicilian Orange Almond 5 Minute Protein Cake

1 Egg, beaten
3 Tablespoons Milk
2 Tablespoons Sugar Free Almond Torani Syrup
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Orange Marmalade (I use Smuckers Simply Fruit)
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
3 Tablespoons Multigrain Pancake Mix (I use this)
2 Tablespoons Almond Meal
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
Pinch salt
1 - 2 cup Measuring Cup or Microwave Safe Mug

In a measuring cup or microwave safe mug, Mix egg, milk, syrup, marmalade and oil and combine thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix pancake mix, almond meal, protein powder and salt.

Tip dry into wet and stir till combined.

Nuke in microwave for 2 minutes (my microwave is getting old and needs 20 seconds added now.) Just start with 2 minutes then look at it, if its still damp on top add 20 seconds. I've never had it take longer than 2 minutes 40 seconds the most.

Let it sit for three or so minutes (it pulls away from the sides) before tipping the cake onto a plate. Yields 4-5 slices.

A super yummy dessert or breakfast. It's also great toasted. I topped a slice with a squirt of Land O Lakes Sugar Free Whipped Cream and a drizzle of warmed (nuke 20 seconds) marmalade.

Sweet fix satisfied.

More Eggface 5 Minute Cakes

Post Weight Loss Surgery Menus: A day in my pouch

The itinerary for the NYC trip was Fed Ex'd to me yesterday morning. I'm soooo excited. The makeover portion of the schedule is AMAZING... Manicure, Pedicure, Highlights, Haircut, 1 1/2 hour Facial (it will be my first real facial), Waxing (not excited about this part LOL ouch), and Makeup.

They will be doing video interviews throughout the event, a crew from Progresso is following us (I'll try & get a copy.) We will be taken by limo to different locations around the city for photo shoots, shopping. I will snap pics all along the way! I can't thank you guys enough xoxo for your votes that allowed me (and my Mum) to have this experience. I know it will be a trip of a lifetime. My Mum is super excited too... well not about the flying part (she hates to fly) might have to buy her an in-flight cocktail ;)

In preparation for the trip I've been cleaning out the fridge and trying to use up all the dated items, eggs, cheese, fresh fruit & veggies. Here's what I rustled up yesterday...

Breakfast: I made a batch of my Bites yesterday and had leftovers for breakfast. They are the perfect grab & go breakfast. They reheat great and will keep up to 3 days in the fridge (or freeze & defrost as needed)

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus BlogShelly's Cheesy Onion Bites

1 Yellow Maui Onion, diced
3 Green Onions, diced
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Italian Blend Cheese, shredded (Parmesan, Mozzarella, Romano blend)
1/4 teaspoon Dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Saute onions till golden, set aside to cool. Mix all ingredients together. Spoon into a lightly greased (Pam non-stick spray works great for this) mini muffin tin.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus BlogBake for 30 minutes at 350. Let them cool a few moments they pull away and pop right out. Makes 24.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus BlogMore Eggface Bites

Lunch: Mmmm Tortilla Pizza. The hands down best way to use up stuff you have in the fridge.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus BlogShelly's Grilled Chicken & Goat Cheese Tortilla Pizza - Mission Carb Balance Whole Wheat Fajita Size Tortilla topped with a smear of Herb Goat Cheese, leftover Grilled Chicken, Green Onion, Mozzarella Cheese, and a sprinkle of Parmesan.

Dinner: I was feeling kind of puny and blah. Sick = Not an option before the NYC trip. This steaming hot bowl of Shelly's Chinese New Year Meatball Soup made it all better. One of my ultimate favorite soups. Seriously. Make this soup.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus Blog
Snacks: Oodles of Coffee and my current addiction: Fluff Stuff. This is my Strawberry Lemonade Version.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus BlogShelly's Strawberry Lemonade Fluff Stuff

1 cup Boiling Water
1 box (4-serving size - the small one) Sugar Free Lemon Jello Mix
3 1/2 oz. (half a small container) plain, Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Torani Syrup
1 1/2 cups Fresh Strawberries, sliced

Pour boiling water slowly over jello mix. Stir till dissolved. Mix yogurt & syrup together till well combined. Add to Jello mixture.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus BlogBeat with an electric mixer till well combined. I use this gadget.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus BlogPlace in fridge for 1 hour. Remove from fridge and beat again for 5 minutes till fluffy. Fold in berries.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus BlogPut back in fridge and allow to set fully (about 2 hours)

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus BlogI served a scoop with a squirt Homemade No Sugar Added Whipped Cream. You can use any fruit (fresh, frozen defrosted or canned drained), any Jello flavor, any Torani Syrup flavor.

Post Weight Loss Surgery Traveling

Getting excited for my upcoming NYC trip... so I thought I'd share a few of my favorite travel snacks and tips that have helped me as a post-op.

These are some snacks I toss in my bag when I'm on the go. They keep me from making poor choices and most require no refrigeration. Great to carry-on the plane... saving you from paying $7 for an in flight snack box that maybe has 1 or 2 items in it we can eat.

Click on the pic to get a closer look:

* I love my Blender Ball Shaker Cups. I take them everywhere. Road, train, plane trips. I pre-measure 1 scoop portions of my favorite protein powders (SEI Max or Ultimate or Click Espresso Protein) into snack size Ziploc baggies and stuff the baggies into the shaker cup. When I'm on the plane or reach my destination I just get a bottle of water or cup of milk, empty the contents of one of the baggies, pour the liquid in (measurements are on the side) and shake, shake, shake. I have a ton of these... they come in 2 sizes (20 oz. and 28 oz.) and a bunch of colors.

* Other things to drink... Taster's Choice and Starbucks Via Tubes. Hotel rooms never have enough coffee but I can use the coffee maker to boil water for these little coffee tubes. Bring a few non-dairy creamer packets and you are set.

You guys know I'm not a plain water fan. I force myself but fail miserably and sometimes I pay in the form of a kidney stone attack. That was until I found these... GNC carries them. Be-Quenched Peach Green Tea Tubes. Empty one into a bottle of water and transform it into a yummy and good for you (contains vitamins & minerals) drink. Not pictured: Tea Bags, Crystal Light Tubes.

* Jello Pudding Singles in SF Chocolate & Vanilla 1/2 cup milk and a packet in your blender bottle and you have a yummy snack. It's not Ben & Jerry's but it may save you from spending your precious va-cay time curled in a ball dumping. Mix one of those coffee tubes in it for an unbelievably good coffee pudding.

* Snack bags of Mixed Nuts, Almonds, Beef or Turkey Jerky, Kay's Protein Cereal, Ann's Soy Energy Blend (I get it at Costco, soy nuts, almonds, cranberries), all require no refrigeration but are handy to pull out of your bag when the only choices are not so good.

* SF Hard Candy & Gum - Lots of choices and I swear you can't tell these are Sugar Free. Just don't go crazy & suck the whole bag (most SF Candy have a laxative effect if consumed in large quantities - I limit myself to 2 or 3 pieces a day, eat the whole bag and you'll get to know the inside of the plane's bathroom intimately) some of my favorites are SF Lifesavers, SF Werthers, and SF Jolly Ranchers.

* Not pictured: Protein Bars Watch the carbs & sugars on these some are really glorified candy bars.

If you are doing the road trip thing or have reached your destination and scored a mini fridge in your room (I request them ahead of time "for dietary reasons")

* Get yourself a super cool bento box and load it up with protein packed snacks. Type the word bento in the search box under my before & after picture and oodles of ideas will come up.

* Cheesesticks are my go-to, I usually hit a deli or supermarket and get a 1/4 pound of turkey or roast beef, a box of soy milk, a couple of pieces of fruit (grapes usually.) Those tuna kits, crab or salmon foil packets, yogurts or cottage cheese are all great to have on hand too... much better choices then the rest stop convenience store or room service menu offerings of deep fried, battered or sugary chocolate.

* RTD Ready-to-drink protein drinks - not my favorite (most are chalky & gnarly) but 7-11 type convenience stores are carrying them now. You can't carry them on the plane (the whole over 3 oz. liquids rule) but they are convenient for road trips or once you get to where you are going. I prefer the blender bottle method with my good stuff in baggies.

Here's more Post Weight Loss Surgery Travel Tips that have helped me and some Strategies for Eating Out.