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Frustr8

Gastric Bypass Patients
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  1. Like
    Frustr8 reacted to Ash Krupnik for a magazine article, Dealing with Family during the Holidays   
    First off, I just want to say this very important thing, if you take nothing else away from this article, let it be this- People’s reactions to you are based on their relationship with themselves, not you. Always.
    Someone who is living at peace with themselves will have no need to harshly criticize, no desire to humiliate, and no feelings of unresolved jealousy. Sadly, once you understand this, you also realize how many people in your life are unhappy with themselves on some level. It makes it a little easier not to take things personally, but I would be lying if I said those things don’t hurt anymore.
    So how do you deal with friends and family members who are not living at peace with themselves? What practical steps can you take to be at peace with yourself so that you are able to reject those statements and hurtful judgments instead of internalizing them?
    Here’s the bottom line- You will always have people in your life who do not wish you well, who want to see you fail. If you do not learn to look past them and stay focused on you and your progress, and live at peace with yourself- you will experience re-gain. I love the words from Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
    1) Start with yourself- You need to be at peace with yourself. Who you are, what you weigh, your progress level, etc. Easier said than done, I know. But working towards that will allow you to bypass other’s opinions of you because you know who you are and where you’re going. A simple way to begin embracing yourself is positive self-talk. Start by looking into the mirror as often as you can, and saying things to yourself like, “I am a beautiful, peacefully person and I love me.” Say hello to yourself. “Hi Ash, you are a wonderful, beautiful person and I am SO proud of you.” It’s going to feel super painful and may trigger some emotions. Process those as they come, don’t shy away from the feelings that embracing yourself brings. If you need to cry, do so. If you smile, embrace it. Enjoy yourself. Changing that negative narrative in your head that so many of us carry around, is step one.

    2) Be honest- When someone says something that’s offensive, it usually comes from one of 2 places: a poor relationship with themselves, or a lack of education. Use your best judgment to determine which it is. Keep in mind, there are a LOT of myths and misinformation surrounding bariatric surgery. Don’t assume people know more than they do. Think back to before you became an expert on Bariatric Surgery. How many questions you had, how many myths you thought were accurate. Seek to educate. But be honest, if someone makes a hurtful comment, let them know. Keep it simple, “Hey, that was uncalled for.” or “Please don’t say things like that to me.” Try to stay calm and in control.
    3) Take a break- If you need a break, take one! Go for a walk, get out of the house, go listen to music alone. Don’t feel bad for needing a break. Family time can be stressful, don’t allow others to jeopardize your progress. When you’re stressed and anxious, you’re more prone to overeating which puts you back on that harmful cycle you’re working so hard to stay off of. Give yourself permission to stay home sometimes too, you don’t need to be at every single family gathering. It’s okay to opt out. People may get offended, they may try to make you feel guilty, but remember- it’s not about you. It’s all about how they feel about themselves. Those who are at peace with themselves will support you and do their best to understand where you’re coming from.
    4) Stay focused- This is a tough one. Holidays pull our focus in so many directions, it’s easy for us to lose focus on our goals. Be proactive about making plans for yourself for food and exercising during the holidays. Being ahead of the game and staying on top of your plans will make you feel peaceful and accomplished. When you feel this way, your confidence is harder to shake and you will feel more secure. When you’re focused on a goal, it consumes your focus and the other things that pop up to derail you just fade into the background. Stick to your routine, take your supplements, and stay on track. You can do this!
    5) Stay connected- Join a support group in-person or online, find an accountability buddy, hire a coach, or grab a friend who will keep you focused without judgment. Someone you can call, text or write to keep them updated so they can provide you with the encouragement you may not be getting from others this season. Having connection fills an emotional need that many try to fill with food. If you’re getting that need met, you won’t be as tempted to eat for comfort. Connection is something we all need, so make it a priority to have someone in your corner this holiday season.
    Remember, at the end of the day- this season is temporary. All the food, all the family, all the hustle and bustle. The things that can make or break this season. It’s all temporary. You are what you carry into the New Year. Your health journey is what lasts. Keep your sights on the long term. You can do this, I believe in you!
  2. Hugs
    Frustr8 reacted to My Bariatric Life for a magazine article, Free, Reduced-Cost, and Affording WLS   
    There are many options when it comes to paying for bariatric surgery. Let's explore them. Click on each hyperlink to learn more on the topic.
    Having health insurance does not mean that weight-loss surgery is covered in your policy. About one quarter of people seeking weight-loss surgery will be denied three times before they receive weight-loss surgery insurance approval.
    If you have insurance coverage for bariatric surgery and are denied, you have the right to contest the decision and write a bariatric surgery insurance appeal letter.
    Since many health insurance plans exclude weight loss surgery, this leaves people faced with the decision to self-pay for bariatric surgery or to forgo what could very well be a life-saving procedure given the devastating effects of obesity and obesity-related diseases on health.
    An option is to take out a medical loan for weight-loss surgery.
    However, bariatric surgery is expensive if health insurance will not cover the surgery. And many people seek bariatric surgery outside the U.S. and engage in the process of weight loss surgery medical tourism.
    Thousands of individuals head to Mexico for Bariatric Surgery to realize excellent quality care, fast wait times, and attractive prices.
    With the question of safety of weight loss surgery in Mexico being being top of mind, I turned to Alex Brecher founder of BariatricPal Hospital MX for further exploration. Alex Brecher opened the BariatricPal Hospital MX in 2017 after having run a Mexico medical tourism business for 10 years.
    As far as free bariatric surgery in the US, while it will no doubt be a challenge, free weight-loss surgery is within the realm of possibility. Free or reduced cost WLS grants and charity care are available.
    There also are bariatric surgery clinical trials for surgical weight-loss candidates. Use our Match to Clinical Trials in 60-seconds widget on the bottom right column of MyBariatricLife.org to locate a trial near you.
  3. Like
    Frustr8 reacted to Alex Brecher for a magazine article, All About Weighing in after Weight Loss Surgery   
    Why Weigh Yourself?
    Yes, you weigh yourself to know how much you weigh. But what is the point if you are on your weight program and your doctor will weigh you at your next appointment? Weighing yourself can have some benefits.
    It can help you lose more weight by keeping you accountable. Just like logging your food can make you think twice before taking that extra bite, knowing that you will face the scale can keep you from serving yourself another portion.
    It can be motivating. When you see the number of the scale go down, you might be more eager to wake up early for your workout, or order a salad instead of a sandwich.
    It can be empowering. Knowing your weight gives you another piece of information about your body, and embracing rather than avoiding yourself can empower you to do your best for yourself.
    How Often?
    You can weigh yourself as often as you like, but it does not make sense to take too many weigh-ins too seriously. For many people, a good rule of thumb is to do a weekly weigh-in. You can take this weight as your “official current weight.” Some people like to stay off of the scale between their weekly “official” weigh-ins, while others like to weigh themselves daily, or even more than once a day, just to see what is going on. That is fine, as long as you do not take each weigh-in too seriously and do not let it bother you.
    How to Weigh Yourself
    You may be a 10, 20, or 40-year veteran of weighing yourself, but there are better and, well, worse ways to do so. It may be worth reviewing or revising your weigh-in practices to get better results. Here are some guidelines for accurate weigh-ins.
    Weigh yourself at the same time of the day for your weigh-in, usually first thing in the morning.
    Choose the same day each week to weigh yourself.
    Wear minimal or no clothing.
    Use the same scale, and a trustworthy one, each time.
    Mistakes to Avoid
    In theory, weighing yourself is as simple as stepping on the scale. Not! Your weight can be deceptively high or low if you find yourself making any of these mistakes.
    Weighing yourself after a heavy meal. While 1 lb. of lettuce has only 50 calories, it weighs…1 lb. If it is in your stomach, you will weigh an extra pound. Weighing yourself in the morning before you eat anything can help avoid the problem of extra weight inside your stomach.
    Weighing yourself wearing shoes or clothes. Heavy shoes and a full set of clothes can weigh 5 or more lb. That is a big chunk of weight that is not yours!
    Weighing yourself with too much salt in your system. With salty foods comes sodium, with sodium comes thirst, and with thirst comes extra water. Water is heavy. It can still be in your system the next morning, and show up on the scale.
    Weighing yourself right after exercising. Exercise does help you lose body fat, but it also helps you lose body water through sweat. You can lose a few lb. of water in one workout, and your body weight might be artificially low right after.
    Weighing in Monday morning. If your weekdays are picture-perfect in terms of eating, and your weekends progress from Friday night at the bar to Sunday afternoon in front of the TV, your Monday morning weight can be variable, and possibly high. Friday morning may be a better time for you to weigh in.
    Getting inaccurate numbers can be bad in many ways.
    You might get discouraged for no reason if your weight shows up as higher than it really is.
    You could become confused about how what you eat affects your weight if there seems to be no correlation.
    You might have trouble detecting regain, and not modify your diet until you have gained more than you wanted.
    Choosing a Scale
    On top of making sure you are ready for a good weigh-in, you need to make sure that your scale is also ready. Using a cheap scale can drive you crazy because it may not be accurate. It could be difficult to read, or it could vary within a few pounds even if you are the same weight.
    There are many affordable Body Scales that are highly accurate. You can find features that help you read the scale easily, track your weight, and see other information. These are some features to consider.
    Digital read-outs.
    Bluetooth connectivity to your smartphone.
    Memory of your recent weights.
    Measurements such as body fat and lean muscle mass.
    Use the scale to help you on your weight loss journey, and you can consider it another weapon in your weight loss arsenal. The more tools you have, the better your weight loss success can be!
  4. Like
    Frustr8 reacted to My Bariatric Life for a magazine article, BariatricPal Hospital MX Q&A: Safe Bariatric Surgery   
    My heart breaks for morbidly obese people whose health plans do not cover bariatric surgery. With health plans that exclude weight loss surgery, if they deem it a medical necessity then you may be able to successfully fight for surgery coverage. I don't know what the success rate is for people who attempt this but it is surely worth trying.
    Since many health insurance plans exclude weight loss surgery, this leaves people faced with the decision to self-pay for bariatric surgery or to forgo what could very well be a life-saving procedure given the devastating effects of obesity and obesity-related diseases on health. Accordingly, more people are opting to self-pay and turning to Mexico for bariatric surgery at facilities like the BariatricPal Hospital MX in Tijuana. That is because the cost of weight loss surgery in Mexico can be significantly reduced from the costs for surgery in the USA and Canada.
    For others, the preconceived notion of Mexico being an undeveloped country filled with sub-par "everything" and drug cartels has banished any thoughts of traveling there for bariatric surgery. But I can tell you from personal experience that Mexico is not like that.
    I drove through Mexico last year from the US border to the Belize border, throughout the Yucatan Peninsula and most of the eastern states. I spent about 5-weeks living there. And I even received healthcare from a gastroenterologist at StarMedica in Merida. It was a very good experience... a wonderful experience. And both the healthcare and the facility were on-par with -- if not better than -- that which I have experienced in the USA.
    Mexico is largely like the USA with cities and infrastructure and shopping malls and hospitals. Of course there are isolated rural areas, but I did not encounter problems with safety even there. What I did encounter was a very warm and friendly culture that I would one day like to revisit.
    With the question of safety of weight loss surgery in Mexico being being top of mind, I turned to Alex Brecher founder of BariatricPal Hospital MX for further exploration. Alex Brecher opened the BariatricPal Hospital MX in 2017 after having run a Mexico medical tourism business for 10 years.
    I am sure that my interview with Alex Brecher of the BariatricPal Hospital MX will further set your mind at ease. Our entire discussion is about safe surgery.


  5. Haha
    Frustr8 reacted to Colleen Cook for a magazine article, 5 Clues Your WLS Honeymoon is Over & 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

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