Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sometimes I forget

Sometimes I forget the details of life as a morbidly obese woman. For example, always wearing elastic-waist pants. Then something silly reminds me. For example, the other day I realized that I'd pulled my pants down instead of unzipping them before sitting on the commode. That's a little reminder of my old wardrobe, and also an indication that those zippered pants might be a little too big. Very hard to wrap my mind around that concept, let me tell you. Especially when the pants are a size 4. Yes, I said 4 - SIZE FOUR.

The sun was in my eyes when this picture was taken, so I look like I just swallowed a quart of vinegar, but that's a genuine SIZE FOUR outfit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Does this make my butt look big?

Ah, body image. The bane of my existence. But I know I'm not alone in that struggle. Jema fights it too.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Self-pity is a popular commodity in the WLS community. I often say things like, “You want my pity? Sorry, you can’t have it. I’m saving all of mine for a truly deserving person – like me.” Let’s see how Jema and her dog deal with self-pity in today’s Jema & Alice cartoon, Come to My Pity Party!
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Admit it. You know what self-pity is, at least well enough to know it at a glance as you trudge on and on towards your weight goal. So take a look at this cartoon and see if you recognize anything about it.
In today’s episode of the WLS adventures of Jema and her faithful dog, dark clouds hang over their heads and rain a deluge of self-pity onto Jema’s life. What climate condition started that rain? The cause is an emotional meteorological phenomenon commonly known as envy. Jema has been comparing her WLS journey to everyone else’s and comes out crying because they’re all so successful that she’s a failure in comparison. Or so she believes….
I understand how Jema feels because if I let them, envy and self-pity walk hand in hand through my life. They trample right over the good stuff and cultivate the bad stuff. The kind of stuff that gets me nowhere near my goals.
Jema’s problem today is that she attended a support group meeting and left it thinking evil thoughts about another bandster who’d reported a 50-pound weight loss already. Jema had "only" lost 35 pounds. What was wrong with her? Why was Debbie Doolittle but not Jema blessed with superior band success? Jema’s been a good girl too, in fact, a very hard-working and deserving girl. As our heroine wails in today’s cartoon, “It just isn't fair!” So she throws herself a pity party while Alice plays the violin. And then?
And then, she dries her eyes and moves on. She decides to use her rival’s weight loss success as inspiration instead of punishment, Debbie Doolittle might even have some tips to share at the next support group meeting. Somehow, some way, Jema’s going to find the silver lining in her dark cloud.
OK, party’s over. Back to work!



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Still amazed!

Even 6.5 years after the start of my WLS journey, I'm still amazed when I see photos of myself - and that's both before and after photos!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Weight loss + age = ugh

I'm very, very happy about my weight loss, but that in combination with advancing age is not a pretty sight. Yesterday I had my husband take a photo of me when I got home from work, mainly to show how Jack, one of our new strays, has gone from fearing human touch to seeking it (especially when the human is holding a dog biscuit in her hand). I was interested to note that I have a backbone, but not so happy to see the stuff going on in the vicinity of my neck and chin. Jack is the dog on the left, and our longtime resident Blackie is the one on the right. I'm the one wearing purple, in case you were wondering if that was me or ET.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Back to School

September’s here, and it’s back to school season. Back to the basics, back to reading, writing, and arithmetic. Actually, any time is a good time for a band refresher course. It’s easy to lose your focus and take a few too many side trips to the land of potato chips and chocolate while you trudge along the bandwagon trail. When bandsters ask how to get back on track, the most common response I’ve heard is a very sensible one: BACK TO BASICS. So I suggest that you re-read the basics in Bandwagon: the 21 rules for success (chapter 6) and the 15 band eating skills (chapter 12). You don’t have a copy of Bandwagon? That’s easy enough to remedy. You can order both Bandwagon and Bandwagon Cookery by clicking on one of the ordering options on the left hand side of this blog page. Bandwagon Cookery print version is available on Amazon, and Bandwagon’s 2nd edition is now available in Kindle format on Amazon: Click HERE to go to those Amazon listings.

While you’re waiting for your copy of Bandwagon to arrive, let’s talk about the 3 R’s: Readin’, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic. What are the 3 R’s of band success?

1.  R is for Reading – learn to read your body’s signals about hunger, satiety, and restriction.

2.  R is for (W)riting – keep a food and exercise log. Studies show that people who keep a food log lose more weight than those who don’t.

3.  R is for (A)rithmetic – weight loss, as hard as it can be to achieve, involves very basic arithmetic. As long as you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. This doesn’t mean that you have to count calories to lose weight, or count calories for the rest of your life, but if you’re struggling and not sure why, try calorie counting for at least one week. Online tracking programs (like such as those at,, and make it easy to log your food intake and calculate your calories. And by the way, calorie counting is meaningless if you’re not weighing and measuring your food. Yes, more arithmetic!

       I haven’t seen a report card for some 38 years, but I clearly remember the looming importance of each semester’s report card. In elementary school, we were graded on effort as well as achievement. Tell us honestly: what’s your WLS effort grade today?

       I’ve seen 2 different trends in other bandsters’ WLS journeys:
1.    Weight loss is relatively easy in the beginning, when you’re at your heaviest and also most gung-ho, but eventually it gets harder as you get smaller (and burn fewer calories), the novelty of your band wears off, and your underlying eating issues (like stress eating, emotional eating, etc.) aren’t addressed.

2.   Weight loss is hard in the beginning, when you don’t yet have enough fill in your band, but eventually you and your band click and the weight loss gets easier.
       Both situations #1 & 2 require extra effort on your part sooner or later. Neither situation is better or worse, but your awareness and understanding of your situation can help you deal with it with less “poor me” and more “go me.”
       I’ll illustrate this with an example from a frivolous but always fascinating aspect of life: hair. I have straight, thin hair, and not a lot of it. I wish it were thicker, curlier, shinier, but it’s not. With the help of my hairdresser, I can make my hair look better, but agonizing about it does not do a single thing to make my hair curl. And I’m not going back to my 1980’s poodle perm, thank you very much.
       Similarly, I have an inborn intolerance for idleness and am easily bored, especially when it comes to food and exercise. I wish that weren’t so, but it is. With the help of my dietitian, food magazines, and cookbooks, I manage to plan and prepare healthy, delicious, interesting meals. With the help of my fitness instructor, I manage to participate in a wide variety of fitness classes that are never boring.

       On the back of my report card was a space for my teacher to write comments about areas in which I exceled or (more often) I needed to improve. Mine usually had to do with talking and clowning during class too much (what a surprise). So, what opportunities for improvement await you this semester? Mine is to back to planning and logging my food every day. Further, I need to start paying more attention to the resulting nutritional data rather than logging and moving on.
       If I don’t pay attention to the data, I can’t evaluate the quality of my food intake, but I’ve been logging about 1200-1300 calories a day without taking the time to notice some major inconsistencies in my macronutrients, especially protein. I need to pay attention to my protein intake not just because my body needs good-quality protein to repair the muscles I stress during my daily workouts, but because low protein intake often represents maladaptive eating. Rather than slow down and eat carefully so that solid protein doesn’t cause me problems, I take the easy way out and eat the easy stuff, almost always in the form of carbs that don’t offer much satiety value.