Posted in sleep help remedies, sleep help stress, Sleep problems, Uncategorized

Catching some Zzzz’s

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Everyone has sleeping trouble now and then.  If you’re stressed, worried, over exhausted, or not eating right, these can all make a good night sleep seem impossible.  I’ve struggled my whole life with insomnia, and sometimes resort to taking OTC sleep aids.  While these are helpful, I’m not one that feels like taking something forever, so I’ve been spending more and more time researching good sleep habits.

Not getting enough zzzz’s have some serious drawbacks.  In addition to not being as productive during the day, it also leads to weight gain, a weak immune system, even a higher chance of having a car accident!  Here are sleep makeovers that have helped me out so far.

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  • Keep away from the electronics at least an hour before bed.  I was guilty of playing candy crush on nights I couldn’t fall asleep, and it sure wasn’t helping the problem.
  • Keep the bedroom clean, dark and cool.  I have found having nice clean, crisp sheets on my bed is very relaxing; even if it means changing the sheets more often and extra laundry, it’s worth it!
  • Set up a relaxing bedtime ritual for yourself, whether it’s taking a warm shower, drinking a cup of tea, or reading (my way to relax before bed), make it something you find soothing.
  • Don’t eat a big meal right before bed, but don’t go to bed starving either.  Both can really interfere with falling asleep.  If you had an early dinner, have a light, healthy snack before hitting the hay.
  • Use relaxing scented oils in an oil diffuser.  I like cedarwood, citrus and lavender.
  • Keep the TV off.  Falling asleep with the TV on is a big mistake I used to make in my early 20’s, and I’d wake up off and on all night long.  Plus, once you’re in the habit, it’s a really hard habit to break.  Use a fan, white noise machine (there are some great apps out there!), or humidifier if the room seems too quiet.
  • You’ll always here go to sleep and get up at the same time, even on weekends.  We all know that advice gets a big “yeah right!”.  However, I’ve found trying to go to bed by midnight and up by 830am even on weekends does really help.  I’m an early bird anyway, so adjust to an hour or two each direction for your normal weekday schedule.

Hopefully you’ll find a tip or two to help you get some much needed shut-eye, and if you have any tips, please share!

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Posted in Uncategorized

What Do I Need In the First Few Weeks?

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 81rKaWI9hwL._SL1500_(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 :  the flash
  •  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.bariatric fusion variety packnectar 5 pack

Please comment and add your favorite or must-have after your surgery!

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Posted in Uncategorized

Found Some Cool WLS Items

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.

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Here’s a recipe book just for Bariatric patients…

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And these adorable “yum yum” bowls, which are remeasured 4oz…

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This site is well worth checking out to get cool gadgets for your new post-op lifestyle, for you and your family.

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Reactive Hypoglycemia

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.

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Medical Bracelets

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.

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Guest Post from Took Me Long Enough

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!

Goodnight.

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Free Resources To Help You Keep The Weight Off After Weight Loss Surgery-Guest post

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.

 

  1. Baritastic

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:

-Nutrition Tracker

-Vitamin and Supplement Reminders

-Forums

-Recipes

-Weekly Motivation

If you need help keeping yourself accountable and on track, this app has everything, and all for free!

 

  1. Model My Diet

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:

 

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Pretty inspiring! I recommend printing yours out and putting it somewhere you will see everyday, like your mirror or on the fridge.

 

  1. Eat Slower

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.

 

  1. Waterlogged

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.

 

  1. SleepBot

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.