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Colleen Cook

Gastric Bypass Patients
  • Content Count

    62
  • Joined

  • Last visited

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About Colleen Cook

  • Rank
    Magazine Contributor
  • Birthday 10/27/1959

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    http://www.bsciresourcecenter.com/index.php
  • Skype
    bscintl

About Me

  • Biography
    Successful WLS patient from 1995, Author of The Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patients
  • Gender
    Female
  • Interests
    Hiking, river rafting, houseboating
  • Occupation
    President, Bariatric Support Centers Intl
  • City
    Salt Lake City
  • State
    Utah
  • Zip Code
    84088

Recent Profile Visitors

4,681 profile views
  1. As my husband lay in a hospital bed, recovering from a total hip replacement, I searched diligently for a way to show my love and support. Then, I found the perfect answer, “licorice and Oreo cookies!” After 50 years in the workforce, my mother is retiring. Though she is not happy about it, I want to find a way to celebrate her many years of hard work. Oh, I know! I will bake her a pie. A cherry pie! That is her favorite. Hard to believe, but our oldest son, Craig is turning 27. He is a wonderful young man with a great wife and an adorable son, Skyler. That surely is cause for a special family dinner. Prime rib, all the trimmings and of course, I will bake a cake. I suspect... As my husband lay in a hospital bed, recovering from a total hip replacement, I searched diligently for a way to show my love and support. Then, I found the perfect answer, “licorice and Oreo cookies!” After 50 years in the workforce, my mother is retiring. Though she is not happy about it, I want to find a way to celebrate her many years of hard work. Oh, I know! I will bake her a pie. A cherry pie! That is her favorite. Hard to believe, but our oldest son, Craig is turning 27. He is a wonderful young man with a great wife and an adorable son, Skyler. That surely is cause for a special family dinner. Prime rib, all the trimmings and of course, I will bake a cake. I suspect that many of you are just like me. Even after 19 years as a weight loss surgery patient, when I feel the need to show my love, support or appreciation for someone I use food. It seems we all do. And that, I am afraid, has been the case since the beginning of time- you know, killing the fatted calf and all that. We love, we celebrate and we motivate with food. I have been wondering if it would be a futile endeavor, or would it actually be possible to change this behavior? Now, I know that I cannot be responsible for everyone else, but I can be responsible for the choices I make. One day, one event and one holiday at a time. So, now that the good candy from the gingerbread house is about gone… along comes another sweet holiday, Valentines Day. You know, expensive dinners, heart-shaped cookies, cakes, and candy. In years past, Valentines Day has been the perfect excuse to bake giant heart-shaped sugar cookies with white icing and red sprinkles. But, this year I am going to do things differently. I know, it will be tough, now that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups come in a heart shape, but I am committed to showing my love for my family and friends without using food! I have decided to spend my cookie baking time, writing heartfelt letters and notes of appreciation to those I love. My hope is that my words will fill their hearts, and that they will feel loved and appreciated, warmed and emotionally fed, and that they will not miss the cookies. Won’t you join me this Valentines Day, by doing what you can to fill someone’s heart – rather than their stomachs? I love you – here’s a note!
  2. If I knew then, what I know now, I wonder if I still would have made the same choice to have weight loss surgery. I can wholeheartedly say, “Yes.” But, I would have invested more time and made the commitment to be better prepared for what my life as a bariatric patient would require. It has been quite a journey these 20+ years and I am pleased to share with you what I have found to be "3 essential things that you need to know and do BEFORE you have weight loss surgery." If I knew then, what I know now, I wonder if I still would have made the same choice to have weight loss surgery. I can wholeheartedly say, “Yes.” But, I would have invested more time and made the commitment to be better prepared for what my life as a bariatric patient would require. It has been quite a journey these 20+ years and I am pleased to share with you what I have found to be 3 essential things that you need to know and do before you have weight loss surgery. This article is not about choosing a surgeon, a bariatric program or a particular procedure. It is about you! About your knowledge, motives, and mindset as you embark on this journey of a lifetime. I had weight loss surgery in 1995 and it has been my privilege to work with thousands of weight loss surgery patients all over the world. I am excited to share with you what I have learned about the importance of these 3 things for your long term success. If you are just beginning to consider weight loss surgery or, if you are in the midst of what can be a very challenging pre-op process, please answer a few quick questions and get the instant download of this article. Looking forward to sharing survey insights and more helpful articles. Take the 1 minute Survey - Get the Full Article
  3. If I knew then, what I know now, I wonder if I still would have made the same choice to have weight loss surgery. I can wholeheartedly say, “Yes.” But, I would have invested more time and made the commitment to be better prepared for what my life as a bariatric patient would require. It has been quite a journey these 20+ years and I am pleased to share with you what I have found to be "3 essential things that you need to know and do BEFORE you have weight loss surgery." If I knew then, what I know now, I wonder if I still would have made the same choice to have weight loss surgery. I can wholeheartedly say, “Yes.” But, I would have invested more time and made the commitment to be better prepared for what my life as a bariatric patient would require. It has been quite a journey these 20+ years and I am pleased to share with you what I have found to be 3 essential things that you need to know and do before you have weight loss surgery. This article is not about choosing a surgeon, a bariatric program or a particular procedure. It is about you! About your knowledge, motives, and mindset as you embark on this journey of a lifetime. I had weight loss surgery in 1995 and it has been my privilege to work with thousands of weight loss surgery patients all over the world. I am excited to share with you what I have learned about the importance of these 3 things for your long term success. If you are just beginning to consider weight loss surgery or, if you are in the midst of what can be a very challenging pre-op process, please answer a few quick questions and get the instant download of this article. Looking forward to sharing survey insights and more helpful articles. Take the 1 minute Survey - Get the Full Article
  4. Even at 22 years post op, I still clearly remember that fateful day when I reached the "End of Invincible" That fateful moment when the honeymoon phase ended and the real work began. I am anxious to share with you what I have learned about the top 5 ways to recognize that your personal WLS honeymoon is over and what to do about it. Even at 22 years post op, I still clearly remember that fateful day when I reached the "End of Invincible" That fateful moment when the honeymoon phase ended and the real work began. I am anxious to share with you what I have learned about the top 5 ways to recognize that your personal WLS honeymoon is over and what to do about it. # 1 YOU START 'FREEWHEELING We are so careful early on. We are committed and sure we will become the most compliant patient ever! We measure our food and water, use a shopping list at the store, prepare meals in advance and eat what we plan, exercise, weigh weekly and take our vitamins. Then, one day it seems that we can forego one or more of these good habits and still loose weight. "Hmm, this is awesome! This surgical tool is my answer, hooray!" If you find yourself boasting about how you ate... or how you don't exercise... or how get away with things you were warned not to do. BEWARE! I promise it will catch up to you. Our Success Habits Research clearly shows exactly what successful long term patients do to reach and maintain their weight. Learn what they know and do what they did. It is important to realize that you will not be the exception to the rule and while you may feel invincible now - know that it is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. There is a reason it is called the 'honeymoon phase.' When it ends, if you have not used the time to commit to, implement and own your Success Habits you will be in find yourself struggling to learn how to maintain your weight. Commit once to a specific set of daily habits and stick with them. All of them! #2 PEOPLE STOP RAVING ABOUT HOW YOU LOOK Boy, do I remember this. Of course I would, it was all about me! Like many of you I enjoyed months and months of friends, family neighbors, work associates and even strangers, raving about how great I looked. One of my favorite comments was “Look at you, you are going to blow away!” Loved it! I think I even walked at little taller, and had a new strut and swagger as I showcased my success. When I knew would be seen by someone who didn’t know about the new me, I was ecstatic! Then over time, people started to get used to my new size. I slowly began to fade into normal, the newness wore off and all of the attention nearly stopped. I missed the rave reviews, I kept wondering to myself, “Do I look fat?” Am I gaining weight?” “Why doesn’t someone say something!” Messed with my mind to be sure. If that has not happened to you yet, trust me, it will. And it is important to be prepared for the emotional and mental grief it may cause. When it does, it will be a good time to do a little evaluating of your true motives for choosing weight loss surgery. Ask yourself why you made this decision in the first place. Did you do this for someone else? To look feel better for yourself? For revenge? To improve your health? This is a time to reconnect to your personal why. Remind yourself of what motivated you in the first place. Pat yourself on the back and learn to improve your ‘self-talk.’ Then, move on. Rather than having it be all about you, now is a great time to turn and support those coming along behind you. Opportunities abound for successful patients who want to give back by paying it forward. Motivate, encourage and support new and prospective WLS patients. Help with an event or patient celebration, work as a hospital volunteer, share your story or become a Support Group Leader. Share your successes online and participate in one or more of the many Facebook Group discussions. You look great – now be great by helping others. #3 THE SCALE STARTS TO GO IN THE WRONG DIRECTION Perhaps like me, you spent many years not knowing what you weighed. I hated the scale and would avoid it at all costs. But, I loved nothing more than weighing myself during the first year after my surgery. It seemed as though I could weigh in the morning and lose even more weight by the time I returned home in the evening! Talk about motivating. For the first time in almost forever, the scales were tipping in my favor and it was exciting! As many do, I reached a plateau a time or two on my way down to my goal. So, perhaps you too have plateaued along the way, but this time, you sense it is different. You have reached your goal, stayed there and celebrated your success, but then, your weight starts to climb back up. Panic sets in and you know that glory days are over. Thoughts like, “I was afraid this was too good to be true.” or “I knew this couldn’t last.” keep surfacing. Self- doubt sets in and you worry that like so many times in your life, you lose, then gain. (And often with a bonus). You hoped it would be different with a surgical intervention, you hoped it would be easy. And in some respects, it has been but now reality hits and you know it’s time to pay attention. At this critical juncture. it is time to ensure that you have put into place the Success Habits you must rely upon every day for the rest of your life in order to maintain your weight. We all know how to lose weight, we have spent so many years on diets, off diets, thinking about a diet, researching a new diet, cursing diets, getting on and falling off diets. But learning how to maintain weight is a completely different mindset. Take this time as you transition from losing to maintaining to remind yourself that obesity is a disease. And one that you will struggle with for your entire life; surgery or not. You have a remarkable surgical tool to help you manage it as long as you learn to use it properly. Commit the time and effort to learn about your own personal metabolism, your triggers, and your relationship with food. It is up to you to evaluate your behaviors, stop doing what you might have gotten away with during the rapid weight loss phase and focus on everything you have learned. Memorize and internalize Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patients. #4 YOU REALIZE YOU SHOULD HAVE PAID MORE ATTENTION TO YOUR BARIATRIC TEAM It seems that through the years the bariatric medical community has made great progress in ensuring that prospective patients are better educated and more prepared for surgery. As many of you know, there is a long checklist of todo’s prior to surgery. Consultations, evaluations, exams, tests, support groups and the list goes on and on. An interesting thing happens though. When surgery is imminent, our focus is primarily on the details surrounding the actual procedure, hospital stay, pain management, how it will feel, etc. The classes and information are helpful, but unfortunately, we are not really listening. We are trying; we nod our heads at what our dieticians, nurses, mental health and exercise professionals are telling us. We commit to being compliant, eat right, exercise, take our vitamins and attend our follow up visits. But are we really listening? Are we learning? Perhaps not. Following surgery, it’s “Whew, I am alive!” And once we are released from the hospital we begin our journey, sticking closely to what we have been advised. We start to really pay attention. Then, something magical happens. Our surgical tool starts to work, just like we had hoped. The weight starts to fall off! But, then we learn that no matter what we do, whether we follow the rules or not, the weight still continues to fall off. A dangerous realization. You see, once we think of ourselves as invincible – we stop listening. Sadly, we see that it is only when people reach a plateau or heaven forbid, begin to gain weight that they are really ready to listen and learn. We are told so often, surgery is a tool, it’s a tool, it’s a tool. Again, we nod our heads. Now that our honeymoon is over we must be ready to learn. I mean really ready to learn. We have “graduated” or are have been “released” from our bariatric clinic and may wonder if we missed our shot to learn. Surgery was a success; we have lost weight and now we need to learn how to maintain. Wishing we would have paid more attention earlier on, we might wonder where can turn. For me, I turned to all of the successful patients I could find, to learn what they knew and do what they did. As I expected, there are very particular habits that those most successful have made part of their lives. In fact, I have spent the last 22 years seeking out the most successful wls patients, identifying their habits, learning from these long term losers and sharing my research all over the globe. So often, we hear struggling patients comment that they did not learn these important principles during their initial weight loss. If that is the case with you, it is not too late. Read the book, take a class, participate online. Remember your surgical tool will serve you well for a lifetime as long as you learn to use it properly. Learn what you might have missed, learn what successful patient have to teach you, learn all you need to know about your own body, metabolism and food addictions. It’s never too late. Learn more about Success Habits Resources Then, move on. Rather than having it be all about you, now is a great time to turn and support those coming along behind you. Opportunities abound for successful patients who want to give back by paying it forward. Motivate, encourage and support new and prospective WLS patients. Help with an event or patient celebration, work as a hospital volunteer, become a Support Group Leader. Share your successes online and participate in one or more of the many Facebook Group discussions. You look great – now be great by helping others. #5 YOU STOP ATTENDING SUPPORT GROUPS THINKING THEY ARE FOR NEWBIES We always suspected that those who regularly attend support groups after weight loss surgery are more successful than those who don’t. Thanks to our collaboration with Stanford University Medical Center, we now have the hard data to prove it. Put simply, “Successful WLS patients are 3 times more likely to participate in support groups than their less successful counterparts.” Unfortunately, sometimes we find that support groups focus on and cater to the newbies, leaving the veteran patients bored, un-motivated and less likely come back. If the topics in support group are not of interest to you, suggest some that would be. Work to be part of the solution. Perhaps offer to do some research, share your experiences or even prepare and teach a lesson. If you have found that you have lost interest in your support group, please consider that if you don’t need the support group, perhaps the support group needs you. I, for one am so very grateful to the two WLS patients who at 10 years post op volunteered month after month to share their story, coach, encourage and teach those of us coming along behind them. Perhaps it’s time to give a little back by paying if forward. Consider becoming a BSCI Certified Support Group Leader. There is nothing more motivating than having people look up to you, learn from you and help keep you on track as a good example. For many, support groups go way beyond, “What is the topic?” People view support group attendance as a commitment to themselves to stay connected and accountable. Support groups offer opportunities to connect a network of like-minded people who understand your journey as many do not. So many life-long friendships are established at support groups. Make support group attendance a must do on your calendar to help you stay on track and accountable. If you are unable to attend a live group, web-based forums, Facebook groups and telephonic groups are easily found. BSCI’s DreamTeam of educators host free telephonic support groups every week. Fun, easy and a great way to stay connected. Telephonic Support Group Schedule
  5. Even at 22 years post op, I still clearly remember that fateful day when I reached the "End of Invincible" That fateful moment when the honeymoon phase ended and the real work began. I am anxious to share with you what I have learned about the top 5 ways to recognize that your personal WLS honeymoon is over and what to do about it. # 1 YOU START 'FREEWHEELING We are so careful early on. We are committed and sure we will become the most compliant patient ever! We measure our food and water, use a shopping list at the store, prepare meals in advance and eat what we plan, exercise, weigh weekly and take our vitamins. Then, one day it seems that we can forego one or more of these good habits and still loose weight. "Hmm, this is awesome! This surgical tool is my answer, hooray!" If you find yourself boasting about how you ate... or how you don't exercise... or how get away with things you were warned not to do. BEWARE! I promise it will catch up to you. Our Success Habits Research clearly shows exactly what successful long term patients do to reach and maintain their weight. Learn what they know and do what they did. It is important to realize that you will not be the exception to the rule and while you may feel invincible now - know that it is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. There is a reason it is called the 'honeymoon phase.' When it ends, if you have not used the time to commit to, implement and own your Success Habits you will be in find yourself struggling to learn how to maintain your weight. Commit once to a specific set of daily habits and stick with them. All of them! #2 PEOPLE STOP RAVING ABOUT HOW YOU LOOK Boy, do I remember this. Of course I would, it was all about me! Like many of you I enjoyed months and months of friends, family neighbors, work associates and even strangers, raving about how great I looked. One of my favorite comments was “Look at you, you are going to blow away!” Loved it! I think I even walked at little taller, and had a new strut and swagger as I showcased my success. When I knew would be seen by someone who didn’t know about the new me, I was ecstatic! Then over time, people started to get used to my new size. I slowly began to fade into normal, the newness wore off and all of the attention nearly stopped. I missed the rave reviews, I kept wondering to myself, “Do I look fat?” Am I gaining weight?” “Why doesn’t someone say something!” Messed with my mind to be sure. If that has not happened to you yet, trust me, it will. And it is important to be prepared for the emotional and mental grief it may cause. When it does, it will be a good time to do a little evaluating of your true motives for choosing weight loss surgery. Ask yourself why you made this decision in the first place. Did you do this for someone else? To look feel better for yourself? For revenge? To improve your health? This is a time to reconnect to your personal why. Remind yourself of what motivated you in the first place. Pat yourself on the back and learn to improve your ‘self-talk.’ Then, move on. Rather than having it be all about you, now is a great time to turn and support those coming along behind you. Opportunities abound for successful patients who want to give back by paying it forward. Motivate, encourage and support new and prospective WLS patients. Help with an event or patient celebration, work as a hospital volunteer, share your story or become a Support Group Leader. Share your successes online and participate in one or more of the many Facebook Group discussions. You look great – now be great by helping others. #3 THE SCALE STARTS TO GO IN THE WRONG DIRECTION Perhaps like me, you spent many years not knowing what you weighed. I hated the scale and would avoid it at all costs. But, I loved nothing more than weighing myself during the first year after my surgery. It seemed as though I could weigh in the morning and lose even more weight by the time I returned home in the evening! Talk about motivating. For the first time in almost forever, the scales were tipping in my favor and it was exciting! As many do, I reached a plateau a time or two on my way down to my goal. So, perhaps you too have plateaued along the way, but this time, you sense it is different. You have reached your goal, stayed there and celebrated your success, but then, your weight starts to climb back up. Panic sets in and you know that glory days are over. Thoughts like, “I was afraid this was too good to be true.” or “I knew this couldn’t last.” keep surfacing. Self- doubt sets in and you worry that like so many times in your life, you lose, then gain. (And often with a bonus). You hoped it would be different with a surgical intervention, you hoped it would be easy. And in some respects, it has been but now reality hits and you know it’s time to pay attention. At this critical juncture. it is time to ensure that you have put into place the Success Habits you must rely upon every day for the rest of your life in order to maintain your weight. We all know how to lose weight, we have spent so many years on diets, off diets, thinking about a diet, researching a new diet, cursing diets, getting on and falling off diets. But learning how to maintain weight is a completely different mindset. Take this time as you transition from losing to maintaining to remind yourself that obesity is a disease. And one that you will struggle with for your entire life; surgery or not. You have a remarkable surgical tool to help you manage it as long as you learn to use it properly. Commit the time and effort to learn about your own personal metabolism, your triggers, and your relationship with food. It is up to you to evaluate your behaviors, stop doing what you might have gotten away with during the rapid weight loss phase and focus on everything you have learned. Memorize and internalize Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patients. #4 YOU REALIZE YOU SHOULD HAVE PAID MORE ATTENTION TO YOUR BARIATRIC TEAM It seems that through the years the bariatric medical community has made great progress in ensuring that prospective patients are better educated and more prepared for surgery. As many of you know, there is a long checklist of todo’s prior to surgery. Consultations, evaluations, exams, tests, support groups and the list goes on and on. An interesting thing happens though. When surgery is imminent, our focus is primarily on the details surrounding the actual procedure, hospital stay, pain management, how it will feel, etc. The classes and information are helpful, but unfortunately, we are not really listening. We are trying; we nod our heads at what our dieticians, nurses, mental health and exercise professionals are telling us. We commit to being compliant, eat right, exercise, take our vitamins and attend our follow up visits. But are we really listening? Are we learning? Perhaps not. Following surgery, it’s “Whew, I am alive!” And once we are released from the hospital we begin our journey, sticking closely to what we have been advised. We start to really pay attention. Then, something magical happens. Our surgical tool starts to work, just like we had hoped. The weight starts to fall off! But, then we learn that no matter what we do, whether we follow the rules or not, the weight still continues to fall off. A dangerous realization. You see, once we think of ourselves as invincible – we stop listening. Sadly, we see that it is only when people reach a plateau or heaven forbid, begin to gain weight that they are really ready to listen and learn. We are told so often, surgery is a tool, it’s a tool, it’s a tool. Again, we nod our heads. Now that our honeymoon is over we must be ready to learn. I mean really ready to learn. We have “graduated” or are have been “released” from our bariatric clinic and may wonder if we missed our shot to learn. Surgery was a success; we have lost weight and now we need to learn how to maintain. Wishing we would have paid more attention earlier on, we might wonder where can turn. For me, I turned to all of the successful patients I could find, to learn what they knew and do what they did. As I expected, there are very particular habits that those most successful have made part of their lives. In fact, I have spent the last 22 years seeking out the most successful wls patients, identifying their habits, learning from these long term losers and sharing my research all over the globe. So often, we hear struggling patients comment that they did not learn these important principles during their initial weight loss. If that is the case with you, it is not too late. Read the book, take a class, participate online. Remember your surgical tool will serve you well for a lifetime as long as you learn to use it properly. Learn what you might have missed, learn what successful patient have to teach you, learn all you need to know about your own body, metabolism and food addictions. It’s never too late. Learn more about Success Habits Resources Then, move on. Rather than having it be all about you, now is a great time to turn and support those coming along behind you. Opportunities abound for successful patients who want to give back by paying it forward. Motivate, encourage and support new and prospective WLS patients. Help with an event or patient celebration, work as a hospital volunteer, become a Support Group Leader. Share your successes online and participate in one or more of the many Facebook Group discussions. You look great – now be great by helping others. #5 YOU STOP ATTENDING SUPPORT GROUPS THINKING THEY ARE FOR NEWBIES We always suspected that those who regularly attend support groups after weight loss surgery are more successful than those who don’t. Thanks to our collaboration with Stanford University Medical Center, we now have the hard data to prove it. Put simply, “Successful WLS patients are 3 times more likely to participate in support groups than their less successful counterparts.” Unfortunately, sometimes we find that support groups focus on and cater to the newbies, leaving the veteran patients bored, un-motivated and less likely come back. If the topics in support group are not of interest to you, suggest some that would be. Work to be part of the solution. Perhaps offer to do some research, share your experiences or even prepare and teach a lesson. If you have found that you have lost interest in your support group, please consider that if you don’t need the support group, perhaps the support group needs you. I, for one am so very grateful to the two WLS patients who at 10 years post op volunteered month after month to share their story, coach, encourage and teach those of us coming along behind them. Perhaps it’s time to give a little back by paying if forward. Consider becoming a BSCI Certified Support Group Leader. There is nothing more motivating than having people look up to you, learn from you and help keep you on track as a good example. For many, support groups go way beyond, “What is the topic?” People view support group attendance as a commitment to themselves to stay connected and accountable. Support groups offer opportunities to connect a network of like-minded people who understand your journey as many do not. So many life-long friendships are established at support groups. Make support group attendance a must do on your calendar to help you stay on track and accountable. If you are unable to attend a live group, web-based forums, Facebook groups and telephonic groups are easily found. BSCI’s DreamTeam of educators host free telephonic support groups every week. Fun, easy and a great way to stay connected. Telephonic Support Group Schedule
  6. Colleen Cook

    The Good Towels

    My husband Roger and I are celebrating 37 years of marriage! My, how time flies. This year we have attended many receptions for newly marrieds and have admired all of the great gifts they receive. We often joke about how great it would be to have a reception and invite all of our friends so we could get new stuff to replace our old worn out stuff. You know, like the toaster that only does one slice, the dull knives, and the old, “lost their fluff” towels. Somehow after 37 years, we feel that we have earned it! Then I realized that we do have “good” knives and “good” towels and “good” china, but I have been saving them for years in the dining room and in my mother’s cedar chest. You know, the ones I have been saving for…??? Well, that’s the thing I realized; that I didn’t really know exactly what or who I have been saving them for?? So I did it! Just the other day, I used the good towels! The good towels are bigger, softer, and even smell better than the everyday towels I have been using. Such a silly thing, but using the good towels made me feel better about myself, and proud that I felt worthy of such a luxury. Since then, I have identified a few other little things that simply help me feel better; like keeping my car windows spot free, replacing my gunked up make up bag, getting my hair cut more often. I don’t know about you, but I am quite convinced that my self-esteem is deeply connected to my eating and health habits. Hmm, seems that when I use the good towels, I feel better about myself and when I feel better about myself I eat less. Makes me wonder what other simple changes I might make. How about you? May I leave you with a challenge to do something special for yourself today? Something small and simple, yet something that will make you feel well and cared for. Then, see if it makes a difference in your eating habits. Come on; get out the good towels!
  7. Colleen Cook

    The Good Towels

    My husband Roger and I are celebrating 37 years of marriage! My, how time flies. This year we have attended many receptions for newly marrieds and have admired all of the great gifts they receive. We often joke about My husband Roger and I are celebrating 37 years of marriage! My, how time flies. This year we have attended many receptions for newly marrieds and have admired all of the great gifts they receive. We often joke about how great it would be to have a reception and invite all of our friends so we could get new stuff to replace our old worn out stuff. You know, like the toaster that only does one slice, the dull knives, and the old, “lost their fluff” towels. Somehow after 37 years, we feel that we have earned it! Then I realized that we do have “good” knives and “good” towels and “good” china, but I have been saving them for years in the dining room and in my mother’s cedar chest. You know, the ones I have been saving for…??? Well, that’s the thing I realized; that I didn’t really know exactly what or who I have been saving them for?? So I did it! Just the other day, I used the good towels! The good towels are bigger, softer, and even smell better than the everyday towels I have been using. Such a silly thing, but using the good towels made me feel better about myself, and proud that I felt worthy of such a luxury. Since then, I have identified a few other little things that simply help me feel better; like keeping my car windows spot free, replacing my gunked up make up bag, getting my hair cut more often. I don’t know about you, but I am quite convinced that my self-esteem is deeply connected to my eating and health habits. Hmm, seems that when I use the good towels, I feel better about myself and when I feel better about myself I eat less. Makes me wonder what other simple changes I might make. How about you? May I leave you with a challenge to do something special for yourself today? Something small and simple, yet something that will make you feel well and cared for. Then, see if it makes a difference in your eating habits. Come on; get out the good towels!
  8. Colleen Cook

    Weight Bias, Bariatrics & Me

    In preparing for a presentation on Obesity Sensitivity, I have made a number of surprising discoveries. First, I recognized and owned up to my own weight bias. I am a weight loss surgery patient celebrating 20 years of successful weight management. I topped out at 250 pounds on my small 5’2 frame. I was ‘obese’ unhappy, unhealthy and struggled with the shame and guilt as so many do. I had to wait nearly 3 years and then had to pay cash. A hard fought battle to be sure. Having experienced many of the physical and emotional challenges endured by those who struggle with obesity, I expect myself to be empathetic, understanding and kind, and I believe I am. However, I uncovered some deeply seeded weight biasesafter taking two common tests: The ATOP (Attitudes Towards Obese Persons and the BAOP (Belief About Obese Persons) in Obesity. Awakened and enlightened, I am now committed to become better educated, more aware, more involved, and do my share. I have been a member of the Obesity Action Coalition since its beginning. Applauding their good works from the sidelines, this recent experience has helped me learn more about what they do and come to a greater understanding of the importance of this work. I see clearly that weight loss surgery patients have a keen understanding of this topic. As WLS patients, individually and collectively, we get it! We know how it is to carry hundreds of unwanted pounds. We know how scarce attractive clothing can be and how hard it is to get up and down off the floor. We know how it feels to be invisible, to be stigmatized and discriminated against. It is because we know that we in a unique position to make a difference. Here are a few suggestions to get you started: 6 Things Bariatric Patients Can Do to Help Reduce Weight Bias: Be willing to tell your story out loud, on a website and through Social Media. Feel free to start here: Bariatric Support Facebook group. Identify your own biases, attitudes and beliefs (Take the ATOP, BAOP). Learn more about our disease The Obesity Society. Become an advocate, get involved Obesity Action Coalition. Reach out to someone who may be struggling with empathy and understanding. Voice your views and opinions about the care you received before, during and after your surgery.
  9. Having experienced many of the physical and emotional challenges endured by those who struggle with obesity, I expect myself to be empathetic, understanding and kind, and I believe I am. However, I uncovered some deeply seeded weight biases In preparing for a presentation on Obesity Sensitivity, I have made a number of surprising discoveries. First, I recognized and owned up to my own weight bias. I am a weight loss surgery patient celebrating 20 years of successful weight management. I topped out at 250 pounds on my small 5’2 frame. I was ‘obese’ unhappy, unhealthy and struggled with the shame and guilt as so many do. I had to wait nearly 3 years and then had to pay cash. A hard fought battle to be sure. Having experienced many of the physical and emotional challenges endured by those who struggle with obesity, I expect myself to be empathetic, understanding and kind, and I believe I am. However, I uncovered some deeply seeded weight biasesafter taking two common tests: The ATOP (Attitudes Towards Obese Persons and the BAOP (Belief About Obese Persons) in Obesity. Awakened and enlightened, I am now committed to become better educated, more aware, more involved, and do my share. I have been a member of the Obesity Action Coalition since its beginning. Applauding their good works from the sidelines, this recent experience has helped me learn more about what they do and come to a greater understanding of the importance of this work. I see clearly that weight loss surgery patients have a keen understanding of this topic. As WLS patients, individually and collectively, we get it! We know how it is to carry hundreds of unwanted pounds. We know how scarce attractive clothing can be and how hard it is to get up and down off the floor. We know how it feels to be invisible, to be stigmatized and discriminated against. It is because we know that we in a unique position to make a difference. Here are a few suggestions to get you started: 6 Things Bariatric Patients Can Do to Help Reduce Weight Bias: Be willing to tell your story out loud, on a website and through Social Media. Feel free to start here: Bariatric Support Facebook group. Identify your own biases, attitudes and beliefs (Take the ATOP, BAOP). Learn more about our disease The Obesity Society. Become an advocate, get involved Obesity Action Coalition. Reach out to someone who may be struggling with empathy and understanding. Voice your views and opinions about the care you received before, during and after your surgery.
  10. Colleen Cook

    Enough?

    Years ago when I was in my early 40’s I wondered if it was possible to be considered grateful while still wanting / seeking more in my life. That presented such a conflict in my mind and heart. I felt that I was truly grateful but at the same time driven and desiring so much more. Years ago when I was in my early 40’s I wondered if it was possible to be considered grateful while still wanting / seeking more in my life. That presented such a conflict in my mind and heart. I felt that I was truly grateful but at the same time driven and desiring so much more. I pondered this each Thanksgiving for a number of years then, I just let it go. Just last week as I was browsing Pinterest, this thought popped up. “Gratitude is what turns everything into enough” This beautiful sentiment touched my heart, filled my spirit and answered my question from long ago. I heard and understood something different about gratitude. I suppose that I see many things differently now, now that I am in my mid-50’s. My priorities have changed my attitude has improved. I am happy, content and grateful beyond measure. Perhaps I have gained an understanding that only time can teach. Or perhaps it is simply about pausing long enough to count my blessings. So this season, I am grateful to be grateful! Please take a moment to enjoy one of my favorite poems: Drinking From My Saucer I've never made a fortune and it's probably too late now. But I don't worry about that much, I'm happy anyhow. And as I go along life's way, I'm reaping better than I sowed. I'm drinking from my saucer, 'Cause my cup has overflowed. I don't have a lot of riches, and sometimes the going's tough. But I've got loved ones around me, and that makes me rich enough. I thank God for his blessings, and the mercies He's bestowed. I'm drinking from my saucer, 'cause my cup has overflowed. I remember times when things went wrong, My faith wore somewhat thin. But all at once the dark clouds broke, and the sun peeped through again. So God, help me not to gripe about the tough rows that I've hoed. I'm drinking from my saucer, 'Cause my cup has overflowed. If God gives me strength and courage, when the way grows steep and rough. I'll not ask for other blessings, I'm already blessed enough. And may I never be too busy, to help others bear their loads. Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer, 'Cause my cup has overflowed. ~ John Paul Moore ~ My wish for you this Thanksgiving is that you will find contentment in our current circumstances, whatever they maybe. May you find joy and happiness in the simple blessings life and may everything you have be enough.
  11. Colleen Cook

    Enough?

    Years ago when I was in my early 40’s I wondered if it was possible to be considered grateful while still wanting / seeking more in my life. That presented such a conflict in my mind and heart. I felt that I was truly grateful but at the same time driven and desiring so much more. I pondered this each Thanksgiving for a number of years then, I just let it go. Just last week as I was browsing Pinterest, this thought popped up. “Gratitude is what turns everything into enough” This beautiful sentiment touched my heart, filled my spirit and answered my question from long ago. I heard and understood something different about gratitude. I suppose that I see many things differently now, now that I am in my mid-50’s. My priorities have changed my attitude has improved. I am happy, content and grateful beyond measure. Perhaps I have gained an understanding that only time can teach. Or perhaps it is simply about pausing long enough to count my blessings. So this season, I am grateful to be grateful! Please take a moment to enjoy one of my favorite poems: Drinking From My Saucer I've never made a fortune and it's probably too late now. But I don't worry about that much, I'm happy anyhow. And as I go along life's way, I'm reaping better than I sowed. I'm drinking from my saucer, 'Cause my cup has overflowed. I don't have a lot of riches, and sometimes the going's tough. But I've got loved ones around me, and that makes me rich enough. I thank God for his blessings, and the mercies He's bestowed. I'm drinking from my saucer, 'cause my cup has overflowed. I remember times when things went wrong, My faith wore somewhat thin. But all at once the dark clouds broke, and the sun peeped through again. So God, help me not to gripe about the tough rows that I've hoed. I'm drinking from my saucer, 'Cause my cup has overflowed. If God gives me strength and courage, when the way grows steep and rough. I'll not ask for other blessings, I'm already blessed enough. And may I never be too busy, to help others bear their loads. Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer, 'Cause my cup has overflowed. ~ John Paul Moore ~ My wish for you this Thanksgiving is that you will find contentment in our current circumstances, whatever they maybe. May you find joy and happiness in the simple blessings life and may everything you have be enough.
  12. Colleen Cook

    Top 6 Summertime Foods for Weight Loss

    Summer is here and it is a hot a busy one! So many fun holidays, activities and family outings, one barely has time shop, let alone plan healthy meals. Luckily, many find that it is a bit easier to make better food choices in summertime, when heavy, high-calorie dishes seem less appealing. The best foods for weight loss in summer are light, refreshing and, most important, keep you out of the hot kitchen. The single easiest way to trim calories from your summer diet, experts say, is to load up on nature’s bounty. Produce is at its peak in summer. Delicious fruits and vegetables abound at farmers' markets and in your local grocery. Besides being low in calories, produce is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. With just a few WLS tweaks that I took the liberty of making, these top 6 summer foods for weight loss from Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD of www.webmd.com offer some great suggestions. Best Summer Weight Loss Food No. 1: Chilled Soups Chilled soups like gazpacho or cucumber-dill that contain lots of chunky vegetables are great choices as long as we add a protein source. Chicken or ground beef perhaps? We are often asked if soup and a liquid, how can I have soup when I can not drink with my meals? Well, be smart. Know your own body, your own nutritional needs and your own sense of satiety. Then make a good choice for yourself. Best Summer Weight Loss Food No. 2: Watermelon Who doesn’t love diving into a crisp, juicy slice of watermelon when it's hot outside? Half of the watermelon comes from water, they say. It’s a wonderful way to satisfy thirst and a yen for something sweet. Another great choice, cool, crisp, good for you and plentiful! Best Summer Weight Loss Food No. 3: Grilled Veggies For Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a plate of grilled vegetables is a summertime must-have. She recommends keeping a plate of grilled onions, bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, eggplant, asparagus, and garlic in your fridge. Once again, it is important for WLS patients to be mindful and deliberate about eating protein at every meal. Grilled veggies are great – along side your protein. Best Summer Weight Loss Food No. 4: Salads Salads make for quick, healthy meals -- with no recipes required. "Just give the produce a quick rinse; slice, dice, toss fruits, vegetables, low-fat cheese, a handful of toasted nuts with some salad greens and a light raspberry or ginger vinaigrette, along with a whole-grain roll, and you have a meal in minutes," Add garbanzo or kidney beans, extra cheese and perhaps some chicken and you have the perfect summertime WLS meal. You might also flavor with lots of herbs so you can go light on the dressing. Best Summer Weight Loss Food No. 5: Low- and No-Calorie Beverages "Beverages can be the Achilles heel during summertime because we need to drink lots of liquids to stay cool, but liquids quench thirst and don’t usually impact our hunger," the article states. As always, WLS patients should avoid carbonated beverages but enjoy flavoring water with fresh fruit, mint leaves, and even vegetables like cucumbers. Also be mindful of even artificially sweetened beverages as you may find they too can activate your sweet tooth. Best Summer Weight Loss Food No. 6: Fruit-Based Desserts Or better yet, how about just fruit! I have long been a fan of whole fruit of all sorts, bananas, oranges, apples and pears, berries too are favorites. To add some interesting variety, try grilling, baking or freezing fruit. Frozen cherries and grapes are quick and easy and grilled pineapple and a sliced peach – well, a little summer heaven! One of my favorite afternoon pick me ups is simply frozen fruit (berries, pineapple, peaches, whatever I have on hand) a ½ cup of fat free, plain Greek yogurt and a bit of Stevia to sweeten. Blend it up for a cool, healthy treat. Enjoy!
  13. Summer is here and it is a hot a busy one! So many fun holidays, activities and family outings, one barely has time shop, let alone plan healthy meals. Luckily, many find that it is a bit easier to make better food choices in summertime, when heavy, high-calorie dishes seem less appealing. The best foods for weight loss in summer are Summer is here and it is a hot a busy one! So many fun holidays, activities and family outings, one barely has time shop, let alone plan healthy meals. Luckily, many find that it is a bit easier to make better food choices in summertime, when heavy, high-calorie dishes seem less appealing. The best foods for weight loss in summer are light, refreshing and, most important, keep you out of the hot kitchen. The single easiest way to trim calories from your summer diet, experts say, is to load up on nature’s bounty. Produce is at its peak in summer. Delicious fruits and vegetables abound at farmers' markets and in your local grocery. Besides being low in calories, produce is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. With just a few WLS tweaks that I took the liberty of making, these top 6 summer foods for weight loss from Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD of www.webmd.com offer some great suggestions. Best Summer Weight Loss Food No. 1: Chilled Soups Chilled soups like gazpacho or cucumber-dill that contain lots of chunky vegetables are great choices as long as we add a protein source. Chicken or ground beef perhaps? We are often asked if soup and a liquid, how can I have soup when I can not drink with my meals? Well, be smart. Know your own body, your own nutritional needs and your own sense of satiety. Then make a good choice for yourself. Best Summer Weight Loss Food No. 2: Watermelon Who doesn’t love diving into a crisp, juicy slice of watermelon when it's hot outside? Half of the watermelon comes from water, they say. It’s a wonderful way to satisfy thirst and a yen for something sweet. Another great choice, cool, crisp, good for you and plentiful! Best Summer Weight Loss Food No. 3: Grilled Veggies For Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a plate of grilled vegetables is a summertime must-have. She recommends keeping a plate of grilled onions, bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, eggplant, asparagus, and garlic in your fridge. Once again, it is important for WLS patients to be mindful and deliberate about eating protein at every meal. Grilled veggies are great – along side your protein. Best Summer Weight Loss Food No. 4: Salads Salads make for quick, healthy meals -- with no recipes required. "Just give the produce a quick rinse; slice, dice, toss fruits, vegetables, low-fat cheese, a handful of toasted nuts with some salad greens and a light raspberry or ginger vinaigrette, along with a whole-grain roll, and you have a meal in minutes," Add garbanzo or kidney beans, extra cheese and perhaps some chicken and you have the perfect summertime WLS meal. You might also flavor with lots of herbs so you can go light on the dressing. Best Summer Weight Loss Food No. 5: Low- and No-Calorie Beverages "Beverages can be the Achilles heel during summertime because we need to drink lots of liquids to stay cool, but liquids quench thirst and don’t usually impact our hunger," the article states. As always, WLS patients should avoid carbonated beverages but enjoy flavoring water with fresh fruit, mint leaves, and even vegetables like cucumbers. Also be mindful of even artificially sweetened beverages as you may find they too can activate your sweet tooth. Best Summer Weight Loss Food No. 6: Fruit-Based Desserts Or better yet, how about just fruit! I have long been a fan of whole fruit of all sorts, bananas, oranges, apples and pears, berries too are favorites. To add some interesting variety, try grilling, baking or freezing fruit. Frozen cherries and grapes are quick and easy and grilled pineapple and a sliced peach – well, a little summer heaven! One of my favorite afternoon pick me ups is simply frozen fruit (berries, pineapple, peaches, whatever I have on hand) a ½ cup of fat free, plain Greek yogurt and a bit of Stevia to sweeten. Blend it up for a cool, healthy treat. Enjoy!
  14. Colleen Cook

    I Threw It Out!

    Umm, fudge! It had been a crazy busy week. Away from home for 10 days, facilitating two training courses and speaking at an Obesity Summit, I was tired and ready to go home. Though I have a pretty good routine when I travel and stay focused on my good Success Habits, I was tempted Umm, fudge! It had been a crazy busy week. Away from home for 10 days, facilitating two training courses and speaking at an Obesity Summit, I was tired and ready to go home. Though I have a pretty good routine when I travel and stay focused on my good Success Habits, I was tempted beyond my ability to resist, to buy a piece of fudge. Umm, I love fudge and of course the walnuts added the all important “protein.” I had kept up with my exercise and make good food choices all week, so I felt justified in splurging a bit. As it always does, the first bite was heavenly! Smooth and creamy. So good. I relished that first bite, waited a bit and then another, and yet another. Enough! I thought. I’m good. Now I am going to mindfully throw the rest away. A difficult thing to do knowing how much I paid for it and due to all of the starving people in the world. But I knew it had to go. With Michael Jordan flair, I strutted by the trash can and slam dunked it. There! Good for me. I would have high-fived the guy next to me, but he gave me a funny look so I decided I would just celebrate privately. Boarding for my flight began and victoriously, I marched onto the plane. Safe from “too much” fudge. An hour passed by still on the tarmac, waiting for a mechanical repair. Finally, the captain announced that we would need to deplane and board another flight. By that time I had missed my connecting flight in Denver so I knew enough to get off the plane and get quickly in line for re-booking. As I waited patiently in line, I don’t know why, but the thought of my left over fudge so close by started to haunt me. Though I am embarrassed to admit it, here is the conversation in my head. “This situation is beyond stressful and surely another piece of fudge would calm my nerves.” Honestly, you are not thinking of getting the fudge out of that trash bin over there are you?” Well, it is still good, it was wrapped up and in the bag.” Really?” What will people think of you digging in the trash?” “It will be right on top. Easy and there are not too many people over there, I can be quick!” Come on, seriously, you are better than this. You don’t eat food from the trash! Well I guess you are right! Thank goodness.” Whew! That was close. It shouldn’t have even crossed my mind but it did. Why, I wonder? What is this problem I have with food? I was pleased that my good voice over ruled my temptress voice but I would have preferred not to have had that conversation at all! Perhaps you can relate? Sometimes I find myself focusing on how unfair it is that I struggle with such unhealthy food relationships. But then, I am both relieved and proud that I have been able to win many of these battles. And every time I do – the “you can do it, you are better than that” voice gets stronger and stronger. For those of you who have heard my other crazy food stories, you’ll know how important it is when I say, I don’t eat M & M’s off the floor, whipped cream with my fingers, OR fudge from the trash! Yeah!
  15. Colleen Cook

    I Threw It Out!!!

    Umm, fudge! It had been a crazy busy week. Away from home for 10 days, facilitating two training courses and speaking at an Obesity Summit, I was tired and ready to go home. Though I have a pretty good routine when I travel and stay focused on my good Success Habits, I was tempted beyond my ability to resist, to buy a piece of fudge. Umm, I love fudge and of course the walnuts added the all important “protein.” I had kept up with my exercise and make good food choices all week, so I felt justified in splurging a bit. As it always does, the first bite was heavenly! Smooth and creamy. So good. I relished that first bite, waited a bit and then another, and yet another. Enough! I thought. I’m good. Now I am going to mindfully throw the rest away. A difficult thing to do knowing how much I paid for it and due to all of the starving people in the world. But I knew it had to go. With Michael Jordan flair, I strutted by the trash can and slam dunked it. There! Good for me. I would have high-fived the guy next to me, but he gave me a funny look so I decided I would just celebrate privately. Boarding for my flight began and victoriously, I marched onto the plane. Safe from “too much” fudge. An hour passed by still on the tarmac, waiting for a mechanical repair. Finally, the captain announced that we would need to deplane and board another flight. By that time I had missed my connecting flight in Denver so I knew enough to get off the plane and get quickly in line for re-booking. As I waited patiently in line, I don’t know why, but the thought of my left over fudge so close by started to haunt me. Though I am embarrassed to admit it, here is the conversation in my head. “This situation is beyond stressful and surely another piece of fudge would calm my nerves.” Honestly, you are not thinking of getting the fudge out of that trash bin over there are you?” Well, it is still good, it was wrapped up and in the bag.” Really?” What will people think of you digging in the trash?” “It will be right on top. Easy and there are not too many people over there, I can be quick!” Come on, seriously, you are better than this. You don’t eat food from the trash! Well I guess you are right! Thank goodness.” Whew! That was close. It shouldn’t have even crossed my mind but it did. Why, I wonder? What is this problem I have with food? I was pleased that my good voice over ruled my temptress voice but I would have preferred not to have had that conversation at all! Perhaps you can relate? Sometimes I find myself focusing on how unfair it is that I struggle with such unhealthy food relationships. But then, I am both relieved and proud that I have been able to win many of these battles. And every time I do – the “you can do it, you are better than that” voice gets stronger and stronger. For those of you who have heard my other crazy food stories, you’ll know how important it is when I say, I don’t eat M & M’s off the floor, whipped cream with my fingers, OR fudge from the trash! Yeah!

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