Working out is a chore to a lot of people (yes, I’m including myself in that statement), but some fun gadgets and cool equipment can make it much more enjoyable, or at least a bit more interesting. Here are 15 top rated accessories and exercise equipment that I love.
#1: A really fun shaker cup
Bring your protein drink, water, etc in a super fun super hero shaker cup.
I was lucky enough to get a few coupons from the Enlightened company to try out their ice cream bars. From the company:
We offer a healthy, delicious product that will make you rethink was ice cream can be. Many “better-for-you” ice creams would you believe that less bad is good enough. We disagree. That’s why we’ve created an ice cream that is truly good for you. Packed with protein, fiber and flavors and light on calories, fat, and sugar, it tastes great, and it’s what your body needs.
Carried at my local NJ Shoprite store, I was curious if they tasted good or like the normal “healthy” stuff. This was my chance to try it out.
The bars are so popular there were only a few boxes left in stock, but I was able to snag a box of Mint Fudge Swirl and a box of Frozen Hot Cocoa. The first I tried was the cocoa, and OH MY GOSH I’m in love! These tasted nothing like the normal “diet” fake ice creams I’ve had in the past…this was a smooth and creamy texture with a rich chocolate flavor. In the center was swirls of gooey marshmallow. It completely satisfied my sweet tooth, and for the first time every I didn’t dump from ice cream. Score!
Next, I tried the mint…this one had a very good mint chocolate chip thing going on. The texture was not quite as creamy as the cocoa one was, but it was still very good! I’ve always loved mint chocolate chip ice-cream in the summer, and this hit the spot. I loved that the fudge stayed thick with a hot fudge-type consistency and didn’t freeze into the bar.
Of course, my two kids wanted in on the action as well. Since I try to have my whole family eat healthy, I was more than happy to get their opinion. They both chose to try the mint, and both boys gobbled them down. Neither had any idea it was good for them (Mom 1, kids 0). Oh, and my hubby who is a weightlifting-aholic enjoys the fact that each bar is high (7 grams) of quality protein. It’s hard finding treats that are bariatric friendly, let alone treats that are good tasting and healthy for the whole family, but Enlightened managed it! I cannot wait till our store restocks and I can try out the rest of the flavors.
When I was getting ready for my gastric bypass surgery, I read whatever I could about it. Back then, blogs and online support groups were pretty new, and few and far between, so I read a few books on the topic. Now, there are tons of online resources, but I still really like a “all info in one place” book. Here is a list of 7 of the most popular and helpful out there!
The Sleeved Life by Pennie Nicola is about her journey getting the vertical sleeve gasterectomy. The cool thing about this book is she combines her personal story with lots of the most recent research on this type of WLS.
The Big Book on the Gastric Bypass has everything about gastric bypass, from how to pick a surgeon, what to expect pre-op, how the surgery is performed, recovery, etc. It has lots of info about afterwards as well, how much you can expect to lose, the diet, & exercising after.
Weight Loss Surgery: The Real Skinny is a great one that talks about all the “bad” parts of WLS. It goes over the mental aspects, how to change your relationship with food, and how to handle when you don’t get the results you were hoping for.
The Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patients (3rd addition) has stories from patients that have had all different bariatric surgeries. Patients interviewed are long term success stories, from 5, 10, 15 years ago, some from 30 years ago!
Back On Track After Weight Loss Surgery is great for any of us struggling with weight regain, with slipping into bad eating habits, not making time to work out, etc.
Weight Loss Surgery for DummiesWeight Loss Surgery for Dummies I absolutely love the “Dummies” books so of course this one had to make the list! As all the other “Dummies” books, this one is written in clear, easy to understand language, tons of tips and tricks, and fun to read.
Al Roker: Never Goin’ Back I had to include Al Roker from NBC on this list. He is such an inspiration, and this open and honest story of his life, his struggles as a child with his weight, and what finally led him to getting bariatric surgery, is a must read
Most of these are available hardcopy or on your kindle, which is personally my favorite way to read
Please comment and let me know what your favorite WLS book, article, blog or website is!
One question that comes up over and over is what to stock up on. There are a million help sites out there, blogs, etc, and you’ll find a ton of the same items appearing over and over. So to save you some surfing of site after site, I figured I’d compile a list of the most popular items people said they found useful after WLS.
- A heating pad. This comes up all the time from patients; it helps move painful gas out of your gut.
- A huggable pillow to hold up to your abdomen when sitting up, or coughing. I found this super adorable “I Heart Guts” pillow I’m totally in love with!
Get it here from Amazon
- Sugar free items such as jello, popsicles, crystal light, fudge pops, etc.
- Broth and thin broth-based soups
- Gas-x, either strips or chewable
- All the vitamins that your doctor wants you to take…please follow his/her advice on this!
- A set of measuring cups…or two…you’ll be measuring EVERYTHING for a while! Find something fun/funky that will make you smile every time you need to go measure your meal (Find this set here)
- unsweet protein supplements, such as Unjury soup flavor, or Proti Diet
- A shaker bottle to make protein supplements, or use as a water bottle….this super hero one makes drinking a bit more fun :
- Low sugar yogurts, ricotta cheese, unsweetened applesauce, sugar free pudding
- Extra pillows to sleep propped up. Some people suggest sleeping in a recliner, which is what I did my first week home…laying flat was just too painful.
- That favorite book on your reading list and the remote within easy reach with a full Netflix Que.
- Last, but not least, protein powder. Now, some will tell you to “stock up”. However, I’ve talked to soooo many people with the same story…”I bought a big container at Sam’s and now can’t stand it…”. Please, if you can, stock up on individual packets, different flavors and variety packets. Your tastes WILL change and you WILL get sick of one flavor. Here is a couple of sample packets available on Ebay.
Please comment and add your favorite or must-have after your surgery!
I came across a really great bariatric kit today, and wanted to share. I wish they had stuff like this when I was a newbie! It comes with a WLS guide book, a protein shaker, a bariatric portion plate, and two 2oz portion food/protein powder containers, all in a cute little lunch bag. Surfing around on the website, they have other products that look really great also, like kid portion plates, bento boxes, recipe books, etc.
Here’s a recipe book just for Bariatric patients…
And these adorable “yum yum” bowls, which are remeasured 4oz…
This site is well worth checking out to get cool gadgets for your new post-op lifestyle, for you and your family.
What is reactive hypoglycemia? It’s low blood sugar that happens after eating…normally 2 to 4 hours after eating. This is a different condition than “normal” hypoglycemia. With “normal” hypoglycemia, the patient has low blood sugar when fasting. Reactive hypoglycemia can be caused by other conditions, but mainly is a side effect of gastric bypass. A minority of gastric bypass patients will notice RH about three years after surgery. After gastric bypass, the body can overreact to carbohydrates, dumping more insulin into the body than is needed.
I was diagnosed with RH several years ago. The first time my sugar dropped it was quite scary. Suddenly I felt nervous, sweaty, shaking, and kind of “out of it”. Thankfully I also felt an intense desire to eat, and after eating a granola bar I found shoved at the bottom of my purse, I felt better a few minutes later. When mentioning this to my family doctor, he said it sounded like RH, to keep food with me at all times, and to eat as soon as I felt symptoms coming on.
Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the symptoms coming on a few weeks ago; I suddenly felt extremely dizzy, as though very drunk. I tried eating, but within two minutes I had to lay down, and ended up passing out. I saw an endocrinologist after that, who now has me checking my blood sugars regularly. I also had a boat load of blood work run, and will find out treatment options at my follow-up.
Of course, there are some things you can do to manage it better. The day of the “pass out” episode, we had been to the movies, and I had eaten popcorn, without any protein before hand. That was a total fail on my part and my own fault.
Now, being more careful, I’m back to no carbs without a protein and eating 5 small meals a day. I’ve always kept food with me, but I now make sure to have a snack in my car too. If you think you may have RH, see an endocrinologist to figure out how to best manage it.
One question I get all the time is about medical ID bracelets. “Do I get one, do I need one, what do I put on it?” The answer I always give is: Save your money.
Medical ID bracelets are for people with life threatening medical conditions, such as diabetes or epilepsy, where they could very easily become unconsious and need the bracelet to alert EMT’s to their condition and how best to treat them. They also are for people who have certain mental conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, where they may not know who they are or where they live. Bariatric surgery is not a life threatening medical condition.
I’ve seen so many postings on different support sites where post-op’s advises bariatric patients to quickly get a medical ID bracelet and put on “No NSAID’s”, and “No NG tube”. Please keep in mind that the only time someone would be reading your medical ID bracelet would be in a life or death situation where you cannot talk and have no one to speak for you.
Why would you need NSAID’s in an emergency situation? If you were having a heart attack, you would be advised to chew an aspirin. Honestly, I don’t know about you, but if I’m having a heart attack, I’m chewing that bad boy up ASAP, not worrying “hmmm, will my pouch get an ulcer”.
Why might you need an NG tube? Some reasons are to aspirate ingested poisons, feed someone who cannot eat, administering medications, or removing excess stomach acids if the patient has a block. Again, I will take my chances and have the NG tube placed. It has actually been studied that while there is a small risk of pouch damage with an NG tube in the first 6 weeks after surgery, it is safe to place the tube after those six weeks. (Read more about that here)
So while it’s a matter of opinion, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to wear a bracelet if that makes you feel more comfortable, that’s up to you. In my opinion, someone got it in their heads they could sell us ID bracelets and make a pretty penny by convincing us we needed one.
Today, I want to share a post from a great blog “Took Me Long Enough”. The author, Heather, is a recent bypass patient and is journaling her experiences. Here is one of my fav’s from her blog! Check out the rest of her posts here.
One Week Ago…
A week ago tonight I was heading to bed, about to have my life changed forever. Tomorrow will be a week since I’ve had my gastric bypass surgery. I can’t begin to describe how different I feel after one week. Christ, I felt different by the evening of my surgery!! The next day I felt reborn, thrust back into this world with a second chance. I survived the surgery. That was my first fear. That was the main fear that has kept me from getting this sooner. I’ve was thinking about getting the surgery for just about 10 years. Better late than never, right?
I used to think that weight loss surgery was the easy way out. I often talk about Cape May 2005. It was me, Rachel, and Suzanne at the shopping center, standing outside of a store waiting for Rachel’s sister to come out. We were suddenly approached by a woman with a big, friendly smile. “Oh just look at you girls, how pretty you all are,” she said as she came up to us. In my head I thought she was just being nice. But when she asked us if any of us had considered weightloss surgery, she hit a nerve with me. I don’t remember what I said to her but basically I told her to fuck off and that it’s none of her business. At the time I worked at a dental office and I equated her comment with me, going up to someone with bad teeth and handing them my office’s business card. See, the three of us, along with Rachel’s sister, were like the fat version of Sex & The City but mainly it was 3 Charlotte’s and me (a mix of Carrie & Samantha). We’ll get into the dynamics of having fat friends later on. Now, with that lady coming up to us like that, I could never see myself doing that EVER, but looking back now, I know why she did. I can relate now. I’m sorry I gave her attitude. I’m sorry I was in denial. Denial, thinking that I can lose weight on my own without the need of medical intervention. I was so sure of myself back then. Boy did THAT change.
So in this last week, I have noticed changes in me. Changes that I never thought I’d see and feel.
Here’s to another week of changes.
Tomorrow I see my surgeon for my one week post op check. I’m only on week one, but I know I have a lifetime to go on this journey and I thank you for accompanying me!
I’m excited to have Meghan Jensen guest post. She is a 5 year post op, and has recently started her own blog…go check her out! All About the Weight Loss
On average, weight loss surgery patients see 8% of their old weight come back within 5 years. 8% may not sound like a lot, but when you have worked hard to lose those pounds any amount you gain back can be discouraging.
Luckily, we live in a world with exciting new technologies and if you choose to embrace them, you don’t have to go on your weight loss journey alone. Here are 5 free resources you can use to help keep the weight off after your surgery.
Baritastic is the number one app for weight loss surgery, and it’s no wonder why! Here are just some of the features you get with Baritastic:
-Vitamin and Supplement Reminders
If you need help keeping yourself accountable and on track, this app has everything, and all for free!
It can be incredibly hard to visualize what your body is going to look like after surgery, especially if you’re like me and were overweight your whole life. Model My Diet allows you to enter in your starting and goal weights and see how your body might change. Here is an example of a 5’6” person losing 100 pounds:
Pretty inspiring! I recommend printing yours out and putting it somewhere you will see everyday, like your mirror or on the fridge.
I am pretty sure whoever came up with the idea for this app is a genius. Eat Slower allows you to set a timer that will go off every time you are supposed to take a bite, forcing you to slow down between each one. 30 seconds can feel like forever when you’re staring at a plate of food at first, but overtime you can retrain your eating habits and start enjoying your meals rather than inhaling them.
If you ever have trouble getting your water in, this app is perfect for you. You can set goals for your daily water consumption and see at a glance how you’re doing with handy graphs. My favorite feature is “custom glasses”, which lets you take a picture of your own water glass to make tracking even faster. Currently Waterlogged is only available for iPhone.
Yes, a good night’s sleep is an important part of weight loss. Being tired is a little like being drunk. It affects your ability to make decisions and control impulses. Those late night Netflix marathons could be the reason you’re craving comfort food the next day! SleepBot helps not only by automatically turning your phone on airplane mode and silencing music, it also tracks all of your nighttime activity and gives you tips to sleep better.
What resources have you had success with? Is there anything missing from this list? Let me know in the comments!
About the Author:
Meghan Jensen is a stay at home mom of 3 who just moved from sunny San Diego to the rainy streets of Portland. Her own weight loss journey lead her to getting bariatric surgery in 2010. Today she writes about her experiences on her blog, All About That Weight Loss.
Again, I don’t normally do product reviews, but when I find something I really like (or really hate lol), I do like to do a review for it.
This review is for Fiberex, made by LLorens Pharmaceutical. I have had problems for years getting enough fiber in since my bypass. I’ve done the fiber gummies, which taste good, but don’t provide a whole lot of fiber. Same with Benefiber, and others.
Fiberex is a liquid. 2 tablespoons a day is 15g of fiber. The bottle says it can be mixed with any liquid but I prefer just to take it straight.
It has an almost syrupy consistency, and a light fruity flavor. I’ve been using it for three weeks now, every day, and it’s helped with digestive issues more than anything else I’ve tried!
From the manufacturer:
- Two tablespoons (30mL) provides 15g of dietary fiber with FOS and Natural Prune Concentrate
- 60% of daily fiber needs
- 20 calories per serving
- 3.5 g sugars
- 15 g fiber
Here is another product review. I don’t do these too often, only if I really love a “new” product I’ve tried out.
These are portion control rings. They are a set of 6 plastic rings that nest together and range from 1oz to 8oz. It comes with a nutrition book that has the calorie content of tons of foods. The rings make it so easy to place on your plate and measure out the proper portions for proteins, carbs, veggies, etc.
I’m 8 years out, and I know for me, after the first 18 months or so, portion control became a bit of a struggle again. I thought I was good at eyeballing portions, but honestly, after trying these out, I was way off sometimes. They are worth a shot if you’re like me and need a little “portion help”
One question that comes up all the time is “when can I drink again…wait, can I drink again?” The answer is yes…and no. You can’t drink the way you could maybe have in the past. Just like you can’t eat the way you could have in the past. Everyone of course is different, but there are some pieces of advice that are normally the same from all medical professionals. I’ll share those here with you.
- Wait a minimum of 6 months after surgery
- Do not drink alcohol on a regular basis after surgery; it increases the risk of ulcers
- Don’t overdue it…with many patients, you can become intoxicated after just one drink
- Take care, as some patients have “transfer addictions” and drinking can become a problem as food may have been in the past
Personally, I have noticed that just one drink goes straight to my head. I drink very, very rarely (think weddings and holidays). So, if I do decide to have a drink I make sure to have two glasses of water afterwards. I’ve noticed for me, personally, I feel dehydrated way faster than I did pre-op. I also make sure I never drive after even one drink. If you decide to indulge this holiday season, just make sure to keep safe…cheers!
Hair loss seems to be one of the biggest topics asked about after gastric bypass. Right on the heels of this seems to be lots of comments about how “I get enough protein in with food alone” from people who had their surgeries like two minutes ago.
Let’s get real here. You CANNOT get enough protein from food alone right after your gastric bypass surgery. It is PHYSICALLY impossible! Even if by some miracle you are able to eat enough food, your bypassed small intestine are not absorbing all the protein out of the foods you eat. Same goes for vitamins, and why we need vitamin supplements also.
Hair loss is only one complication of lack of protein and vitamin deficiencies. Anemia, bone disease, eye problems, and skin rashes are just some of the other problems that can occur. A dietician I worked with at one of my local hospitals said they have seen numerous patients coming into the ER with medical problems due to being non-compliant.
Please, follow your doctors advice, and supplement with protein and vitamins after your surgery. It’s not just a scheme you’re being told to do this; it’s for your own health and your own good. Supplementing doesn’t just have to be vanilla protein powder in a blender either! There are soooo many tasty supplements out there. Proti Diet is one of my favorites, and comes in everything from soups to pancakes to chocolate cake! If you like fruity flavors that will mix right into your Crystal Light, Nectar is a good choice.
For further reading:
I became friends with a wonderful woman, Connie, during my journey, and she has been kind enough to share her story with me, and all of us. Her Facebook group she speaks about is full of fantastic, supportive people, and she has been kid enough to let me be part of that with her (the link is always right here, under “Online Support”). Please read her story and share with others as it can help many people on their journey!
My name is Connie, from BariatricHELP & Fitness .
You can visit my Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/BariatricHELP
You can also visit my Facebook group: “BariatricHELP Forum” at https://www.facebook.com/groups/451021918324460/?refid=17
This group is for pre-op and post-op followers. This page is designed for those wanting/needing support, advice, tips, motivation and inspiration. It is a “closed” group. “Closed” – means only the people in the group can see your posts.
I am hoping this book will help others in their weight loss/maintenance journeys. I am not a medical professional. This is based on my journey as a post-op weight loss surgery patient. Please seek medical advice from your physician/bariatric team. Please follow your physician’s advice. This is about my journey and what has worked for ME. Each individual has different needs and each journey is different but this book is written to help and provide ideas. Sometimes just knowing what others have done and knowing you are not alone is important and that is why I am sharing my experience with you.
I have been over weight since I can remember. As a baby, my mom tells me that people would stop her in the store because they had to touch me. I was a cute chunky baby, haha.
Well, it was not cute anymore once I started kindergarten. I remember going to school and being made fun of because I was overweight. My Tata (grandfather) use to drive me to school, he knew I did not like going to school because of kids making fun of me. One day we drove up to the school and he seen the kids that were making fun of me. He got out of the car and stood straight up-my Tata was a huge/tall man (over 6 feet tall), he did not even have to say anything (he just showed his presence) but I remember no one made fun of me anymore. Then, later I switched schools for other reasons. When I switched schools the picking and bullying began once again. I had to ride the bus to school. My Nana (grandmother) had to walk me to the bus every. I would attempt to wait at the bus stop without her but I hated the feeling of getting made fun of. Although I was bigger in size, I felt belittled – I felt small and ashamed.
At a young age my doctor placed me on a diet. He had me complete food logs and I had to show him my logs and progress at each visit. I remember starting off good by trying to eat better and walking, then I would slack off and by the time of by next visit to the doctor, I had not done so well. I would take “water-pills” the night before my appointment just so that I could lose a few pounds and not be scolded by the doctor.
The following are screen shots of my food logs from back in 1987, I was born in 1977, therefore, I was 10 years old, struggling with my weight and already logging my foods.
My weight was something I thought about every single day of my life and still do. In junior high school I had lost weight and participated in volleyball and track/ I enjoyed running-I loved the feeling. It was a yo-yo affect with my weight all through high school and college. I have always tried to diet and exercise but eventually would fall off the wagon and gain my weight back plus more.
In 1998, I married my best friend and after 2 children (and dieting in between) I finally said enough of this and began focusing on eating better and working out. Fortunately, my employer offers us a free full sized gym and classes onsite. I took full advantage and used the gym, each morning before work. My heaviest weight was 309 lbs. I got down to 242 lbs and it seemed like no matter what I did the scale would not budge. Of course, I would get frustrate and eventually gained some of the weight back.
I admit, I would get frustrated and start to give up. I was at a point where I told myself, this is me, I have always been overweight –this is who I am and realized I may not get to the weight that I wished and wanted to be at.
After several discussions with my husband, he told me that he wanted to look into the gastric bypass for himself. He knew I was against it as I had my feelings about it. I had heard of all the risks and heard of stories in which others had put their weight back on. To support him, I went to classes with him. I wanted to get educated and learn about what changes were coming his way, I wanted to know how I could help him through his journey and learn about the foods that he was going to be able to eat.
After several classes, I realized I could do this, this is for me too. We went to classes together and we went through the process of getting educated and approved for this surgery. My husband decided at this time it was not for him, but he continued to cheer me on and he is my #1 supporter. On August 20, 2012, I had my surgery-the RNY gastric bypass. I told myself and continue to tell myself that, if I was going to have this procedure there was no way I was going to go backwards or back to my old ways. This was a time to change – not only the outside (physical appearance) but most importantly –the inner me (mentally and emotionally).
Luckily, I have been successful on my new journey. This does not mean that it is not hard or difficult. I have had to overcome a lot mentally and emotionally. I have learned a lot about myself. After approximately 5-6 months post-op I joined a challenge group on Facebook in which I met people from all over-through this group we supported and motivated each other and my coach kept me on track with this group. I decided to change up my workout, I was doing Tae-bo, using the stability ball, squats, planks, walking, etc. I ordered Insanity (a Beachbody workout) -I was nervous because its known to be “insane” but I told myself I can do it and I will do it. I immediately fell in love with it. I was excited each morning to get up and dig deep. I could feel my body toning. I lost lots of inches. While being a part of the challenge group my coach suggested being a coach as I love supporting and motivating people -I wanted to help others. After, taking some time to think about it, I jumped all in. I was so excited about what Beachbody had to offer not only me, but everyone who wants to get healthy.
After coaching for several months I decided to stop coaching as I was focusing on everyone else’s goal and not mine. I absolutely love helping others but it was my time in my life to put focus on me. I did not go through all this to lose focus on me and therefore I made my health a priority. The RNY gastric bypass was a “tool” in my journey to becoming healthy. The rest is up to me.
Now that I have shared information about me, I want to share information that I have come across during my journey with you.
I was very fortunate that my Bariatric Team at the Mayo Clinic of Arizona offered bariatric patients a jump start program. I was scheduled for a full day of appointments-all in 1 day. I met with my surgeon, the nutritionist, endocrinologist, psychologist, psychiatrist and bariatric nurse. I then began taking classes which was a 8 week program. We discussed preparing for surgery, reading food labels, documenting food logs, identifying hunger signals, mindful eating, etc… I followed up with my bariatric team throughout the process with follow up appointments. I was required to attend a support group and reading the book “mindful eating” by Jan Chozen Bays, M.D.
If you are going the process of preparing or learning about weight loss surgery here are my suggestions:
Do not rush the process, learn as much as possible. Sometimes what you learn or what you are told sounds like common sense or sound redundant but IT WILL HELP YOU, especially post-op. Take all required classes that your Bariatric Team suggest/recommend. Attend support groups. Talk to your bariatric team/doctors. Most importantly, ask questions!
I hope you join me on my journey and/or follow me by liking my Facebook page/group!
What a fantastic idea: A dating site JUST for bariatric patients! This new site will be going live next week! Here is a guest post from Bariatricdate.net about their new site.
Entering the dating world following any type of bariatric surgery is challenging. How soon should you mention your surgery? How do you explain your odd eating habits? What if the other person can’t understand why you made the decision to have surgery? It doesn’t have to be like this.
An all-new dating website is now open to all people who have undergone weight loss surgery. You don’t have to be looking for a date or romantic relationship to join, either. BariatricDate.net goes live July 15, 2014, and is open to bariatric patients looking for friendships, pen-pals, a love interest, and much more.
Join a network of folks just like you, in all stages of the weight loss process. Are you trying to decide if surgery is right for you? Have you just had your surgery and need a support system? Are you one of the fantastic success stories of people who are living healthier, more fun-filled, energetic lives after weight loss surgery?
Join BariatricDate.net to meet people in all stages of meeting their goals.
Happy dating, losers!