About Gastric Girl

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Tomball, TX, United States
My name is Laurie. I'm 34 and I live in a suburb of Houston, TX. My life isn't super exciting or ultra dramatic, but I love it! My blogs are just a peek into my life as I know it. I'm quite random and have an opinion on everything, but I love everyone's aspect on things, even if I disagree. The world would be quite boring if not! :-)


Insanity is..

...doing the same thing and expecting different results.    I tried to find out who is credited with that quote, and I got everyone from Benjamin Franklin to Albert Einstein.  
Regardless, it is so true!   How can you get different results when you try the same things on a day to day basis/ You simply can not!  
  • I can't expect to feel well rested when I continue to go to bed late at night.
  • I can't expect to lose those last pesky pounds when I haven't made any changes in "diet"/exercise.
  • I can't expect to get out of this rut that I'm in by having the same routine every day.
So what the hell am I going to do about it?!
  • I re-joined Weight Watchers.  There are things I love about the program, and there are things that don't work well for me.  What I need out of it is the accountability, the weekly weigh ins, the meetings and the tracking.  So, the majority of it will help me right now.  And realistically I am only 10-12 lbs from what I can establish as a lifetime goal... with that, moving forward...
  • I am setting goals and giving myself rewards.   155 is my lifetime goal.   Once I am at that for 6 weeks, WW will be free for me.   As a reward for hitting lifetime (and staying there 6 weeks), I will re-join a monthly massage place as my reward (The cost for that is $10 more than what I pay for WW, so it's only spending $10 more for a massage, not bad!)    I will start saving and if I stay lifetime for 2 years, then maybe I'll treat myself to a boob job! WAHOO! LOL
  • I will make sure I get 2-3 workouts in per week.   I will NOT use my activity points in Weight Watchers, but I will track them. 
Yesterday when I weighed on my scale, I was 169.8 (FREAKIN SCARY!)... Today when I weighed, I was 165.6. (Still out of happy zone). My all time low was 153, albeit I was only there when I was sick and unable to eat because of my ulcer.    My comfortable weight zone is 155-160 and 165 had been my PANIC mode weight... so, I'm in panic mode!    My official first weigh in will be tomorrow morning.. Wahoo!

Another thing - I refuse to diet.   I am not going to allow myself to get back into that pattern in my life.  I have spent basically the last 34 years of my life on a diet, and I am not going to start that vicious cycle all over again.  I am going to eat more consciously.   My job is stressful to me, and I eat when stressed.   I need to eat only when hungry, and not let my emotions dictate what goes in my mouth.  

Anyway - That's what's been happening in my little corner of the world... I will continue to update.


Thursday 13: Places I'd Like To Visit

Good morning, guys and dolls!   Thank you for all the support on my post yesterday... I didn't get a good night's sleep because John had to work an overnighter again, but I swear it will happen soon!  Out of my control....  AHH!   At least today, I have no headache and I am fairly conscious! haha

This week's Thursday 13 will be places that I'd love to visit.   I think that the travel bug constantly lives inside of me, and if I had unlimited funds (if only!), then I would probably be a world traveler!
1)  England - I would love to ride the tube in London, go to Stonehenge, and swim across the English Channel (Ha!, not really, but sounds fun!)..   It just seems like a great place to visit.
2) Japan - There is always something intriguing about Japan to me.. I'd love to go when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.  I would DEFINITELY get my fill on sushi while I'm there as well.   I've heard you need a small fortune for anything there, so I'm not sure why this one is so high on my list!
3) Australia - Every picture I've seen has been absolutely gorgeous, and going to a country where I understand the language would be so nice! haha!   
4) New Zealand - Same as above, but I'd also love to meet some of my blog friends!
5) Italy - The food, the fashion, the architecture... it'd be a great place to spend some time!
6) Greece - I've always wanted to go here as well.. The architecture would be amazing to see in person!
7) Egypt - I don't think I'd ever feel safe here in this lifetime, but at the same time, seeing the pyramids in person would be very cool!
8) France -  I would love to go to the art museums, visit the Eiffel Tower, and have lots of French wine!
9) Costa Rica - I've seen many beautiful pictures from here as well, and it'd be a great tropical destination!
10) Banff, Canada - Ok, I've been here before, but it's so beautiful that it made my list anyway.  It's in the Canadian Rockies, and the town is so cute and quaint!
11) New York City - I have been here twice but I loved it so much, and there are still so many places I want to go.  
12) Peru - I'd love to go to Machu Picchu, and who could resist going to Lake Titicaca? HAHA   It was the easiest lake ever for me to remember in my geography class!
13) Germany - Although I am not a beer drinker, my boyfriend is... I'd love to go to Oktoberfest and experience it with him!  

There ya have it..  I'd love to visit everywhere if I could, but alas, there are only 13 spots! haha
If you could go anywhere, money not a question, where would you go?

Want to participate?   Thursday 13


Rough Time

I don't like posting when I don't have a lot of positive things to say, but I realized I haven't written in awhile. Maybe this will help!
I feel like I'm stuck in a rut right now and am having a hard time digging myself out!   I don't know what brought it on.. maybe post-vacation back to reality?   maybe the fact that I've gained a few pounds?  maybe the changes at my work that make the future unknown (lots of new management changes)?  maybe that since we got back from Florida, I haven't been able to spend much time with John since his work seems to be trying to kill him with hours? 

I KNOW that I've been making bad choices with food lately.  80% of my choices are excellent, but those 20% are REALLY REALLY BAD, and probably completely discount the other 80%.   I haven't been working out.   I have been consuming extreme amounts of coffee (although low calorie, not exactly something that a health-conscious person should be doing).  I haven't been sleeping well.   I'm normally a very social person, but lately I just want to hide in a hole.   

I don't want this to be a pity party, but I also had to get it out there.    Maybe that's what I need to do just to start to dig my way out!  

My first step is to try to get at least 8-9 hours of sleep tonight.    It's hard to want to do anything when you can barely keep your head up from being so tired!  I actually LOVE being at the gym, but the biggest chore is getting dressed and ready to go to the gym.  

Anyway - I mainly wanted to check in and let you all know I'm ok..   I will get out of this rut, and I'm actually surprised that it's been awhile since I've been in a rut. 

xoxox to you all!


Happy Friday! Plus a recipe! :-)

Hello guys and dolls!  Happy Friday to you all! :-)  I have a short day at work, and I'm excited about that.   I have a lot planned for the weekend, although most of it is low key!   I think I am going to start looking for a part time job over the next few weeks, as I had an unexpected expense come up, and I can't seem to squeeze that amount out of my budget.. EEK!    Getting it paid will be a huge weight off of my shoulders though, so I know I can do it!

On another note, Saturday is the one year anniversary of the date John and I moved in together.. wahoo!  :-)  And he even remembered... DOUBLE WAHOO!! :-)

I made chili the other night, and I swear, it is the PERFECT "diet" food...   It's extremely low fat and low carb, and has tons of protein and flavor.. Delish!
My version:
2 lbs of extra lean ground turkey
1/2 medium onion (chopped)
2 medium green or red peppers (chopped)
Chili Powder
Red Pepper
4 Cans of fire roasted Tomatoes
2 Cans of Dark Red Kidney Beans (all beans drained and rinsed)
1 Can of Black Beans
1 Can of Pinto Beans

Saute onions, garlic and peppers until onions are translucent. (I use Pam to saute).  Add ground turkey until cooked thoroughly cooked.   Add everything else and simmer for an hour or so... DELISH!  Sorry, I don't measure my spices... I just prepare to taste.     It lasts for several days so you have a quick go to meal!  If it's not enough food for your significant other, give them some corn bread or put the chili over rice or pasta.   It's delicious on it's own though!

Well, I am going to get back to work since my time is limited here today... I hope you all have a great weekend, and I will probably be blogging some more over the weekend!!

xoxo to you all! :-)


Thursday 13: Weekend Edition

Happy Thursday to all!
I wanted to do a quick update on a couple of previous Thursday 13's first -  
From my Bucket List Edition - I can remove the Disney World from my list!  Wahoo!  It is a great feeling to remove something from a bucket list! :)
From my Shopping Edition -  I can remove #1 - our new camera!  Wahoo!   We ended up getting a slightly nicer one - we purchased a Canon T1i, and I absolutely love it.   I'm still learning how to use it, and got a dummy book for it, but we can look forward to getting some more pictures on this blog now that I don't have a crappy ass camera! Wahoo!!   Oh yeah, I got some running shoes while on vacay as well, so I can take TWO Things off!!!!
Now, here we go with this week - I'm going with a weekend edition because I'm a To Do List queen, and I have a lot to do.   John has to work most of the weekend, so I'm going to try to fill it with some ME time, as well as some time with my girls!
  1. Movie with my mom - I am going to take my mom to go see Eclipse, even though I've already seen it.  She's read all of the books just like me, and wants to go see it!   I still want to go see the A-Team, but I'll wait and see that one with John when he doesn't have to work. 
  2. Farmer's Market - I haven't been in well over a month, and I need to get some more things.  I got a few veggies at Costco this weekend, but the deals are unbeatable at Farmer's Markets.. There is a new one in Tomball where I live that I want to try!
  3. Bike Riding - I haven't gotten much time with my bike in, so hopefully this weekend, I can get some miles in, even if it's just in my neighborhood!
  4. Mow the Yard (or find someone to do it for me! HA!) - since we were on vacation, and now with John working some crazy hours, our grass is TALL! My poor little chihuahua gets a wet belly just walking in the grass to do her business! haha!
  5. Get some reading in - I'm still reading City of Bones and need to get it back to it's rightful owner.. hopefully I can finish it this weekend!
  6. Get some pictures framed and put up.   I ordered several pics from Snapfish from our trip, and hopefully they will be in today or tomorrow so I can get them framed.  We also got my mom and John's mom some frames as souvenirs, and we got a picture to put in it! :)
  7. Take a nap!  I LOVE NAPS!   They're truly one of life's joys for me.   Hopefully I can sneak one in on Friday or Saturday.  I have a half day on Friday, so my weekend starts at noon! WAHOO!
  8. Spend some time with Michelle - I haven't seen her since the day before my vacation, and that day wasn't really hanging out too much!
  9. Spend some time with Jil - I haven't seen her in awhile either!   I miss my friends!
  10. MUSCLE BLAST!  I haven't been to this class in 3 weeks because of vacation and a day that I had to work during the class... and I need to firm up a bit! Ok, who am I kidding, a LOT!
  11. Prepare for John's birthday - his birthday is in a few weeks, and I want to plan his little party that I'm having, as well as budget what I'm going to get him, etc.
  12. Pay bills - BORING, but necessary!
  13. Make a huge salad to munch on during the weekend... I've been craving salad like crazy!!!! YUM!
Ok, that's it for this week!   If you'd like to participate, just go to Thursday 13!


Guest Post: Christie - Not the Quick Fix

Good morning sunshines!   I had one more guest post that I wanted to share, even though I'm back!   Enjoy!!

A little about me... I'm 27 years old, married, and live in Colorado. I had the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy 2 months ago and I am down about 50 pounds. To learn more about me and my type of surgery, please feel free to visit my blog.

What I would like to address today is dealing with the Quick Fix Mentality. What I mean by this is that unfortunately many non-ops, even those who have struggled with weight their entire lives, may tend to look down on WLS patients as those who have "taken the easy way out", gone for the "quick fix", or even, "given up." Do you feel angry just thinking about it? I know I do... partially at myself because I used to feel the exact same way.

I came across a new blog today that I absolutely love. A great woman who has overcome a lot and lost her weight "on her own" and has been maintaining the loss. We all know how rare this is and how difficult it is to do. I read many of her posts and started to really like this blogger I didn't know... started to feel like she was a new friend (as bloggers and blog readers alike, I'm sure you can understand this feeling!) Then I read her about me page and she said something along the lines of any of you can do it, just use your determination - and not for a quick fix like weight loss surgery.

My heart sank a little. Shouldn't she understand? Shouldn't people who have gone through The Struggle of Weight be supportive of others in the same boat, no matter the method they use to try and overcome it? Being a blogger myself I knew that the best route, rather than hastily leaving a comment about being offended, would be to email her privately, share a little of my story, and hopefully plant a seed of understanding so that she would be more open to the journey a WLS patient goes through. Since I found her blog through another WLS patient to begin with, I'm sure I am not the only one reading and not the only one who would feel a little disheartened.

I was pleasantly surprised by a lovely response she wrote to me. She explained that she knew she had it in her, hadn't done everything she could, and choosing surgery would have been the quick fix for HER. But that she knows it is a hard journey as well with lots of work involved and she doesn't look down on it. She even plans to change her wording in her About Me section. All in all it was a great exchange.

I thought I would share a bit of what I had written to her, in hopes that it may encourage others to stand up for themselves with critical friends, family members, blog readers, whoever. Remember above all that your journey is yours alone and it is no one else's place to judge.


While I totally respect that for you going to a weight loss surgery seminar was a reality check and from that point on you did it yourself, I was a bit offended that you said "use your determination, and not on quick fix weight loss surgeries..." etc. I can understand where you are coming from. I have been in the weight-loss-blogosphere for going on 10 years. I used to never get involved with bloggers who had done weight loss surgery, since I was trying to do it on my own, because I thought we were in totally different worlds. I used to think it was a quick fix too. I considered LAP band surgery in 2003 at age 20, but decided against it because I thought to myself "that's too drastic, and I can do this on my own."

I have always been willing to put in the work, like you say, you have to do it. I've counted calories (or points) religiously, exercised 3-6 days a week regularly, lost 40-45 lbs every time that I really got serious about it for 6 months or so. One component that was always missing for me was the psychological factor and working on the emotional eating. In the end, this always sucked me back in because when I would hit a LONG plateau (at one point up to 6 months with no weight change after losing 45 lbs), the emotional factor would get me. I'd give up. I'd feel bad about myself and I'd eat those feelings.

7 years later at age 27, I found myself with major back problems (degenerative disc disease, 3 herniated discs in my thoracic spine, 2 in my lumbar spine and arthritis in my sacrum/tailbone.)... knee problems, arthritis, plantar fasciitis (severe foot pain), and really bad hip problems caused by the arthritis in my sacrum. I had lost and gained weight so many times. It was not as though I never tried and gave it my all. I had done major efforts for 6 months to a year at a time at least 10 times since my teenage years. Last November I started therapy with someone who specializes in eating disorders and I FINALLY started digging in to the deeper stuff. I was making a ton of progress with eating intuitively, not eating emotionally, self care, really getting my whole life together. Yet I was still gaining weight. I thought ok, I have the food under much more control, now I need to get exercising again. I walked, I did the Wii, I went to the gym. But every week something would start hurting worse. My hips and back especially. My back got so bad I couldn't stand up some days.

I went back to my doctor and said WHAT ELSE can I do for my back? I want to get my exercise and it keeps stopping me. He told me we had been through this before, I'd done a year of physical therapy, etc... and basically I had two choices - back surgery (which would only help short term anyway, since my condition is degenerative) or weight loss surgery. I'm only 27 and really don't want to have to have back surgery yet.... I've watched my mom have countless back surgeries (I inherited these probs from her) even though she never had a weight problem... it's scary. I also responded poorly to his suggestion to have weight loss surgery. BUT I AM TRYING TO DO THIS MYSELF... I'm in therapy... I'm eating right... and I'm trying to get my exercise! I am putting in the effort, why would you suggest surgery to me which is for people who aren't willing to work at it?

He explained to me it is just the opposite ~ he usually suggests it to the people he knows WILL work at it... because the surgery is just a tool, and it only works if the person USES it correctly, and uses it long term. He said he knows I can do this, and that without the help of surgery, I would most likely not get anywhere because of the amount of pain I was having with my various conditions. I cried in his office, and I hated him a little, but as I thought about it for a few days, I saw his point.

I went to a seminar and the surgeon said the same thing - it's a tool. You have to use it. You still have to make all the lifestyle changes you would be making without surgery if you want it to LAST and be successful long term. This made sense to me. Many people have WLS and gain all of their weight back. I was always secretly afraid (back when I was looking into it at age 20) that would be me. But now, having been through 6 months of therapy working on emotional eating and my deeper issues, knowing I have what it takes to put in the work, etc... I thought... I can do this. This can really help me. I can put in the work but actually get somewhere instead of getting stuck.

On May 20th I had the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. 85% of my stomach was removed. No intestinal bypass or anything else is done... this was the right option for me. They say the rate of loss is slower with this type of surgery, but I have blown their minds with almost 50 pounds lost in 2 months... surpassing even my husband, who is both a man and who started out 30 pounds heavier than me. He was at 37 lbs at 6 weeks, which I was at by 4 weeks. He should be flying by me but here I am. Proving to the world that I will work hard at this.

Even though I still have pain, it's so much better. My back and hips are still bothering me a lot, but my knee and foot pain is mostly gone, and my back pain is more manageable. I've been working out about 4-6 days per week since the 4th day after surgery. With this surgery I can eat much more than a bypass patient (2-3oz from day one... now I'm at about 3-4 oz usually)... and have no "help" from malabsorbtion... so if I don't make the right dietary choices, I'm screwed. But I work hard to make high protein, low carb, reasonable fat choices. And I kind of LOVE it! I love that I can be full on so little, making the right choices has actually been easy for me, and I am loving having less pain and being able to get my workouts, because I'm actually really enjoying them.

I know a few things you may be thinking. 1) I'm 2 months out, so of course I'm doing well, how about in 3 years? Well, I don't know, but I am certainly determined, working hard, and hoping for the best. 2) You may be thinking okay, surgery sounds ok for me based on what I've said (or maybe you're not, who knows), but most surgery people are slackers looking for the easy way out. Just think though that everyone has a personal story and without knowing it, how can you know? and 3) this has been way too long winded. So I'll wrap this up.

I just wanted to share my story in hopes you would change your opinion about WLS being the easy way out or "quick fix." I certainly don't approach it as that in my own life and I see it as a blessing and a tool to aid me in accomplishing my goals and improving my health. I work hard and I'm sure many other WLS patients do too. While it is FABULOUS that you have been able to do this on your own and maintain the loss, many...MOST.. people can't. Statistics recently say only 2% are able to lose and maintain more than a 100 lb weight loss even with proper diet, exercise, meds AND therapy combined. You have beaten the odds but I just hope that you won't look down on those of us who have not been able to. Some people think I gave up... but giving up would have been eating myself into oblivion. Instead I took ahold of my life and I'm trying to change my fate.

Stand up for yourself when people criticize your choice to have surgery. I think it is important to stress that the only way to have "given up" would have been to stop trying. By having surgery you made a decision to improve your health and your life. Be proud of that. Be proud of yourselves.


Back to Reality

Hello my lovelies!!   I'm back in rainy Texas, almost back on my normal schedule.  I took an extra day off to recover, but tomorrow is back to the grind!
John and I had a great time in Florida.   It was awesome getting to meet his sister and her family. I love them all!  We were going and going every second.  We went to the four Disney Parks (Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios) as well as the Universal Islands of Adventure.   I rode several roller coasters, and even got John on one or two... wahoo! :)  
I didn't make it to my H&M store that I'd been waiting on, but I did go outlet shopping with his sister.  It was great getting to spend time with her and get to know her better. :-)   We'll be planning a trip to New York within the next 6-9 months, so hopefully I will make it to my H&M store then! :)  They REALLY need to open a location in Texas!!!!
I have a HUGE number of blogs to catch up on, so I'll be working on that as I can...    I've missed reading about everyone's adventures through life!  

I will write more tomorrow - off to take my dog to the vet! Her poor allergies are making her wheeze like crazy.. :(


Heather's Guest Post: Who Can See Your Potential

Heather's blog is one of the first blogs I ever started reading.  She disappeared on me for a little while due to real life getting in the way, but I'm SOOO glad she's back.  If you ever need a dose of positive vibes, be sure to check her out!!
As I sit here and consume my second cup of coffee while thinking of a moment that has changed my life to write about, I was reminded of an experience that I will never forget.  This last spring I was student teaching in a fourth grade class.  One day, we were working on division problems and a young girl was struggling with the process.  She came to me and said that she just can’t get the right answer.  I asked her to work it out for me so I could see how she was figuring it out.  This student was not at the top of the class and I knew that she may struggle a bit, but I wanted to see what was tripping her up the most so that I could break it down to a point that she would understand.  I could see that she had the right idea, but was missing a step or two.  I looked at her and said, “Slow down and think about the process.  I know you can do this.”  She then replied with, “How do you know I can do this.”  I simply said, “I see it!  I see it in you and I know you can do this.”  She looked at me as if she thought I was magic.  I could almost see her thinking, “I don’t see it, but if she does then I’ll try.”  She then returned to her desk and worked out the problem.  She brought it back (with a smile) and much to her surprise, it was correct.  The next day, when she brought in her homework, I made a point to look at her work first.  Sure enough, she had every problem correct!  I was so proud!  I went over to her and I said, “Wow, what a great job you did.”  She said to me, “You were right.  I did have it in there.” 
That moment changed my life and confirmed that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.  Thinking on that moment also made me realize that all we need is someone to recognize that we have it in us.  Picture, if you will, something that you struggle with or wish you could accomplish.  It could be losing weight, exercising, saving money, or whatever.  If someone were to approach you and say, “I know you can do this because I see it in you,” would that enhance your motivation?  The “someone” that recognizes your potential, whether they know it or not, is creating a partnership and creating a great deal of encouragement.  Maybe that is all we need, someone to recognize our potential and push us to the next level?  Is it possible that our friends need that from us also?
I know that my potential has increased and I have gained a great deal of support from my “blog land” friends (as I like to call them).  Having this experience has brought encouragement, drive, and a sense of accountability that I wouldn’t have had on my own.  That being said, I love to read about others and their experiences yet I am not one to comment all of the time.  I am pulling for them in their lows and excited about their highs, but I don’t always tell them.  Just thinking about this experience has made me recognize how important comments and encouragement are to my friends and fellow bloggers.  I am grateful for those who choose to be a part of my success and want me to be a part of theirs, even if I’ve never met them face to face.  I can count on them to be there and say, “You can do this because I see it in you” and I will be overjoyed to return the favor. 


Christine's Guest Post: Pink, Fuzzy Handcuffs!

Christine is another blog that I recently have started reading, and I've loved every one I've read.. she's got a great mix of humor, information, and day to day stuff! :)    Enjoy!

You’re heard the saying. “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”

I say, “When life throws you pink, fuzzy handcuffs, bust them out and make an impression.”

Hi, my name is Christine and I run a little weight-loss blog called Phoenix Revolution (www.phoenixrevolution.net). If you don’t know me already, here’s a little background:  I’m 32 years old, I has gastric banding surgery a little over a year ago, and I’ve lost 85 pounds so far. I’m pretty mousy in real life and have an uncanny ability to blend in with a blank wall. Every now and then I open my mouth, and when I do, I think I send the whole world spinning backwards. Or, that’s what it feels like sometimes! Here’s a case in point:

While I was in graduate school, I decided on the spur of moment to romp off to The Netherlands to visit a friend. I threw my clothes in a backpack – I travel lightly – and hopped on the soonest plane to depart.

I had never been to The Netherlands before, although I’ve toured Europe fairly extensively. I of course, wanted to visit Amsterdam and all the delightful areas of town that involved.  As you can imagine, I ended up in the heart of the Red Light District. Yeah, it was pretty spectacular. Naturally, I wanted some kind of souvenir to remember the trip by. I wasn’t keen on bringing home a STD, so I figured something a little tamer might be more appropriate.

I walked into a sex store. Oh boy! What treasures that store contained!  They had, ahem, gadgets of all varying shapes and sizes.  They had “reading material” (can I call it literature?) for every discerning preference.  They had clothing that covered – and uncovered – all kinds of bits of flesh!  Oy, it was all quite overwhelming. But then I saw it – the perfect souvenir! A pair of pink, fuzzy handcuffs! 

They were so cute! So Barbie-doll pink! So soft and fuzzy! I had to have them. I slapped a few Guilders down on the sticky counter and giggled like a silly schoolgirl.

Now, remember I said that I pack light, right? I hate checking luggage – it’s time consuming, and my bags always end up in Oklahoma or some remote destination.  Well, even though I was in graduate school, I am not always the brightest bulb in the room. I put those pink fuzzy handcuffs in my backpack with my clothes and yes, I went through security with them, intending to bring the bag with me on the plane.  

Naturally, the hottest Dutch man was working the security point that day. He put my bag through, smirked, and then ran my back through the X-ray machine again. He called over another security-buddy of his, who just happened to be the second-hottest Dutch man I’ve ever seen.  He looked at the screen, and then looked at me. Looked at the screen. Back at me.  He started laughing.

I thought I was going to die from humiliation.

They called over not one, not two, but three more security officials – all men. All hot.  They couldn’t contain their laughter. I think one guy started crying from the laughter.  I wanted to crawl into my backpack and die. 

Eventually they opened my bag and pulled out the pink fuzzy handcuffs. All the people held up in line behind me started tittering. The first security guard gave me a warning look and said, “Next time, check your bag, okay?”  He handed back the handcuffs to me and sent me on my way.

I stuffed the handcuffs in my purse as fast as I could and hauled ass off to my airplane terminal.  I was originally booked for a flight direct from Amsterdam to NYC. It was a completely full flight, except for two empty seats. One of those seats was right next to me! Hooray! I thought that my luck had turned around. An extra seat to spread out in during an international flight, especially as I was quite overweight at the time, is akin to a bubble bath and deep-tissue massage after a long hike up a volcano/mountain. (Read about that trip by clicking here:  http://www.phoenixrevolution.net/archives/295)   An extra seat is delicious and glorious. I settled in with a smile on my face.

Then the stewardess got on the intercom. “I regret to inform you that there is an emergency situation, and we need to pick a few passengers up at London, Heathrow Airport. This short delay will only put us into our final destination 30 minutes late. If you have any questions about a connecting flight, let me know.”

Well, dammit! What passenger can be so freaking important that they would re-direct a nearly-full airplane to pick them up?
J.K. Rowling. That’s who.  We stopped in London, and J.K. Rowling, her husband and children got on the plane.  She handed the kids over to her husband, and took the seat right next to me. I knew who she was instantly. I love Harry Potter, and I’ve seen several interviews with her. It had to be her.

As I sat there wondering whether I should say something to her or not, she opened up a notebook and started to write. I think it was Book Four of the Harry Potter series. Glancing over her shoulder, I could see her write about Harry, Ron, and Hermione. I was so giddy and nervous I started shaking a little.

I had to get her autograph. Hers would be a fantastic addition to my collection.  I grabbed my purse to pull out a pen and piece of paper.
Out fell the pink fuzzy handcuffs. Right there on the airplane tray.  Bang. With a clatter. Ms. Rowling looked up from her scribbling. She looked at her handcuffs, then looked at me with more than a little uncertainty in her eyes.

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.


I picked up the handcuffs and turned directly to her. “I know you’re JK Rowling. And I know you’re writing a Harry Potter book right here. You’ve got two choices. Either you can give me your autograph, or I can handcuff you to this chair and you can tell me whether Harry lives or dies in the end. Your choice.” 

I smiled.

I say, “When life throws you pink, fuzzy handcuffs, bust them out and make an impression.”

Visit my blog!!! www.phoenixrevolution.net


No Excuses - Guest Post by Emma!

From Laurie - I've recently had the honor of reading Emma's blog.  I am thrilled to have her posting for me this week while I'm in Orlando!   Please be sure to check out her blog and follow her!

I was thinking the other day about all the excuses that we make to ourselves about why we can’t lose weight or why there’s no time to do exercise today, or whatever.  Then I started thinking about the excuses that others make for us.  So I thought I would write about that for my guest post here.  I’m wondering if others find the same things happen to them.

I’m a lifelong wheelchair user as I have Cerebral Palsy (CP).  But I’m not someone whose been overweight all their life.  In fact when I was little my mum used to worry about my  eating because I was such a fussy eater (and in some ways still am).  I gained weight when I left home and suddenly I was the one who chose what was on the table and didn’t always make good choices.  And I lost some of it slowly.  Then I got hit by a bad bout of depression which I’m still clawing my way out of several years later.  It all went to pot and I ended up at the highest weight I’ve ever been.

One of the things I try to do now is to be honest with myself.  It’s not the easiest thing to do all the time and sometimes I slip up.  As a part of that I refuse to justify things to myself.  If I eat a bit worse than usual then I do and I just treat that as a part of my journey.  If it’s because I’ve been to a special occasion like a meal out then fine.  But it doesn’t become an excuse to eat whatever I like for days on end and slip back into old habits.  I’m trying very hard not to use food as a comfort and a reward anymore. Which means I’ve stopped coming up with excuses about why it’s ok.

I am managing to lose weight now and I have some wonderful support. From friends and family and from people I’ve met online through the Healthy You Challenge and other places.  Then there are those who make excuses in their being supportive.

A good friend of mine once told me “You’re in a wheelchair Emma, no one expects you to be thin.” 

I realise that was meant to be helpful and supportive.  What she missed however was for me it’s not about being “thin” but about being healthier and finding things easier.  Doing this is what I expect of myself for myself.

And several people have made comments along the lines of “it’s not easy for you to lose weight” [because I have CP].  Again that was meant to be an encouraging and helpful comment.  I do appreciate the support – and usually it’s not the whole of the conversation.

Weight loss isn’t easy full stop.  Maybe because of being on a low income, or busy at work.  Or people might not be able to get to the gym.  There are millions of reasons and excuses why now isn’t a good time for weight loss and healthy eating.  I’ve stopped making those excuses.  Now I just need others to stop making them for me.


Guest Post: Tiffany!

Laurie here:   I've been following Tiffany for well over a year and a half..  she is truly an inspiration, and I've enjoyed watching her relationship with her now husband blossom as well! :)   Enjoy!

Hi, I’m Tiffany from Change is Good, Changing for Good.  I am honored to be guest posting at Laurie’s blog.  A brief background about myself: I had the Duodenal Switch weight loss surgery March 26, 2007.  My highest weight was 393.6 pounds, and I have been morbidly obese for most of my life.  The last ten years of my life being super morbidly obese.  I have lost 254.6 pounds.
Before and After Pictures:

This was not my heaviest weight.  I estimate that I gained another 15-20 pounds before having weight loss surgery.  I wore a size 36W jeans and a 5X/6X top, which had to be ordered from the two major online women’s clothing companies.)

Boston, MA June 11, 2010 (139 pounds)
I debated about what I would post, but decided that I would write about what I do to maintain my weight loss.  I have maintained my current weight for seventeen months.  Since most of my life I have gained weight, maintaining is a new ground for me.
Tips and Tidbits:
1.  Never drink your calories.  I was a huge Coca-Cola addict pre-op.  I don’t waste any calories on liquids (with the exception of protein drinks).
2.  Don’t keep “trigger” foods in the house.  For myself, bread is a huge trigger food.  I can very rarely eat bread in small portions.  At restaurants, I will ask for the bread basket to be taken away, or not to be brought at all.
3.  Be prepared.  When I don’t have many choices, I will inevitably make bad choices.  I always have “go to” snacks that I can eat, so this rarely happens.  Stock up a desk drawer at work, stash things in your purse.  Argue with TSA that peanut butter is not a gel, and that you should be allowed to take it on your flight.
4.  Customize your food when you are out.  Don’t be afraid to ask for things to be made a specific way.  Have the server go back in the kitchen to find out an answer to your question.  Look at menus online to have a game plan for when you go to a restaurant.  There have been some ethnic restaurants that I didn’t feel had a lot to offer me, so I brought my own dinner when meeting friends.  The world doesn’t care if you are fat, we have to take our healthy eating into our own hands.
5.  When you make sweets, give them away as soon as possible.  As a former severely overweight person, I never had the problem with sweet items “going to waste” in my house.  They were cleaned out very quickly.  I love baking new things, but what I do is allow my husband and I to have a small sample, then I send him around to all our condo neighbors, until the items are gone.
6.  Be diligent in medical care follow up.  This is especially true if you have had weight loss surgery.  Make regular doctor’s appointments for yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask your doctor tough questions, or to seek second opinions.  Insist on regular lab work to be done, and make sure you understand the results of that lab work.  One thing I am compiling this summer is a “Medical Spiral Binder” for my husband/family.  This is going to contain ALL the medical notes from my doctors over the last five years.  If ever something serious happens to me, I want them to be able to use that data to decide what the next steps in my treatment are.  Having it all organized in one place will help in this process.
7.  Find some way to deal with your emotional baggage.  If you have been heavy for any amount of time, there will be feelings of low self-esteem that you need to build.  You will have to find your way out of the heavy mode.  This may take many different forms.  For myself, I had to rediscover who I was.  That is the basis of my blog.  I’ve went skydiving, horseback riding, and am learning how to cook.  Being able to maintain a healthy mindset will help to keep the weight off.  I’ve found so much support through the online blogger community as well.
8.  Take pictures.  Pictures are a good form of accountability.  They let me know when I am slipping up.  Sure, there is always the occasional unflattering angle or outfit, but this shows progress (good or bad) over time.  It is amazing to see the progression over time.
9.  Wear clothes that fit.  Yeah, I had the elastic waist pants by the dozen too, but you are different now.  You can judge by how a pair of fitted clothes feels on where you are weight wise.  Take someone who knows how to help you find the proper fit.  I found my viewpoint was very skewed in this regard.  I started out with a size twelve skirt, and thought it fit just fine.  My friend went back and got me an eight.  I would have never bought that without her saying, “Yes, this fits you.”  She was right, I just wasn’t able to see it yet.
10.  Weigh yourself daily.  This can frustrate the tar out of someone, including me.  I have kept up with my weigh ins online.  There are many places you can do this online.  I use Med Help trackers.  I now don’t panic when I see a spike, especially if I notice it is a trend that my body goes through.  Even if you cannot commit to weighing yourself daily, almost all physicians recommend that you weigh yourself weekly to maintain your optimum desired weight.
11.  Give up fast food.  I was a hardcore fast food addict.  Most days, I had fast food twice a day: always super-sizing, getting extra dipping sauce, you name it.  I have been fortunate that most fast food makes me nauseous.  McDonalds is the absolute worst, and I won’t even let my husband bring it in the house or eat it in the car with me.  I have about four items total that I will eat from all the various fast food places.  It is processed junk.  I’ve learned that I am worth more than that.  Again, going back to planning, I would much rather pack something from home, or swing by a grocery store to eat something that is good for me.
Thank you for letting me share.  If you have any questions, I’d love to answer them for you.  You may contact me through my blog.  Be kind to one another, this journey is hard, no matter how you choose to battle it. 
I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite bloggers, Frayed Laces,
“There will come a day when you can no longer do this, today is NOT that day.”


Mmm... Apple Chips (Guest Post!)

Today we have a post for a delicious healthy recipe, courtesy of Freckle on the Nose of Life's Complexion.  If you haven't checked out her blog yet, please do so!  It's hilarious, and there are lots of great recipes!! 

If there are chips in the house, I will eat them.  Kettle cooked, baked, wavy… I am an equal opportunity consumer of junk food.  Summer may be the season of bathing suits and shorts, but it’s also the season of ridiculously good food.

Just think about it - picnics and cookouts and barbecues… it’s easy to get into trouble!  And I do, which is why I fully embraced my recent (and rare) craving for a healthy snack.

I decided upon apple chips, even though they require lots of bake time and I possess limited quantities of patience.  And turning on the oven when the air conditioning is running full blast just feels crazy, but if it keeps me away from the Cheetos, I’ll take it!

After picking up a few apples, the first step was to core them.

I was tempted to stop here and eat ‘em up but I marched on.  I cut the apples into thin slices and set them aside.  Then I separately mixed some water and sugar over the stove that would eventually coat the apple slices.

The sugar can definitely be substituted with Splenda or something similar.  Otherwise, this healthy recipe… isn’t so healthy, haha.

I let the sugar water boil and poured it over the apple slices.

After some stirring, I let the apples cool a bit before spreading them over a couple of cookie racks (which apparently should now be called “healthy snack racks”).  I put some foil underneath to catch drips before putting them in the oven.

This definitely isn’t a quick snack – I put them in the oven at around 200 degrees for nearly three hours and then brought them out to cool.

They are yummy!  I won’t lie and say they fulfill my craving for salty deliciousness, but it was definitely tasty enough to tide me over in between meals.  I do have a few tips though:

-          Spray the racks before laying down the syrupy apple slices.  I didn’t think about that and I had to peel them off one by one – oops!

-          After they’re baked, don’t let them sit too long – I found that they needed to be thrown away after about 36 hours.

-          It might be fun to sprinkle a little cinnamon into the syrup.  Cinnamon makes everything a little more delicious!

Enjoy!  And a big thanks to Laurie for letting me guest post!  Have a great vacation!



I hate it when mechanics assume they can screw you over just because you're a woman.  I'm getting my car looked at before we leave tomorrow, and requested an oil change and an alignment.   Instead, they're wanting me to do about 400000 other things, at a total of $1400!!  Hell, it'd be cheaper to rent a car.    I'm so irked!    I called John to ask him what I should get done, and I'm only getting that taken care of, but now I have to add another errand to my list, which is going to Discount Tire to get new tires... they wanted to charge me almost $400 for new tires... I DO NOT THINK SO!!!    

Anyway, had to rant.... back to cleaning, packing and list writing! 



Thursday 13: Travel Edition

Happy Thursday to you all!   This week's Thursday 13 is a list a stuff that you should never go on vacation without!
  1. Camera - It's important to catch some great moments while on vacation! :)
  2. Reading Material - We're driving.. and I get bored easily. So, I'll be bringing several books and magazines to keep myself awake! 
  3. Ample clothing - I once underpacked when I went to Mexico.  When I went there, I was morbidly obese, and found that they don't sell plus sized clothing in that part of Mexico.... Not fun!  So, I always keep in mind that I need enough clothes with me! haha
  4. A nice outfit - even if you're just going to do casual things, you want at least one nice outfit in case you have a change of plans.
  5. Identification - ID, Passports, etc.  and the numbers to your bank and other financial institutions in case something goes wrong!
  6. Chargers for all of your electronics: Phone, iPod, camera, etc.  It's a pain to not be able to use something just because the battery died!
  7. Seasonally Appropriate Items - Sunglasses, jackets, etc.
  8. Map or GPS - you don't want to get lost!!
  9. Music - there will be lots of dead time with radio stations, so it's ideal to have your iPod, or some CDs made!
  10. Cash - You never know if a place won't take a credit/debit card, so it's always good to have some cash on hand.
  11. Emergency numbers - if you lose your phone, do you know how to reach ANYONE?   I only know a few phone numbers by heart, and I think I'm not alone! It's no longer necessary to memorize phone numbers like it used to be!
  12. Medication, Vitamins, Etc.
  13. Toiletries - A girl has to have her makeup, toothbrush, and other girly stuff!!!
No wonder we get criticized for over packing.. but I've underpacked enough times and end up spending too much money replacing what I need! :)

Happy Thursday to you all!  If you want to participate, just go to Thursday 13!
I will see you all around the 20th - but keep visiting me, as I'll have some awesome guest posters!


Made it Through...

Ahh, I made it through my deadline with no casualties!   Excellent, indeed!   I have gotten a little delirious over the past couple of days though.   This morning, I sneezed, and then I said, "Bless You!" to myself.   I seriously thought someone else just sneezed...  Of course, someone else heard it, and we both ended up laughing so hard we couldn't breathe! lol

Tonight I am starting my long list of things to do.   One of those things is to go to sleep at a decent time.  I have a knack for getting sick when I'm about to go on vacation since I fill up my time doing too much crap!   So, I will TRY to thwart that by getting a good night's sleep tonight.

I looked at the weather for Orlando over the next 10 days.  Rain every day! HA!  Go figure! :)    I know that will likely change, either for the better or worse, but I refuse to let that damper my time off.   It'll be great getting to know John's family and I know we'll be able to make it to some of the parks. Wahoo! :)

Tomorrow will likely be my last post until I get back, and then you'll have some great guest posts!  What I've gotten so far is awesome! 

Hope you all are doing well.   I have 419 unread posts in my Google reader... EEK!    It was over 500 this morning.   I can't get to some blogs on the actual sites so I haven't been able to comment!  BOO!    I am sure my work has blocked something... punks!

'til Tomorrow!


Wahoo, Counting Down!

Hello, boys and girls!   It's officially my vacation week, and I'm counting down!    I only have 3 workdays left, this week, so I'm thrilled!   
John bought us our new camera this weekend, so we can scratch that off of my Thursday 13 Shopping List.  Hurray! :)    We played with it a bit this weekend, and I ordered a dummy book that's specific to our camera that will arrive on Thursday.    John suffers with motion sickness, but I can read while he drives, and before you know it, I'll be a pro on that camera.. wahoo!!!  
Last night for the 4th, we had a few friends over.. We grilled some delicious steaks and some chicken, I baked some potatoes, and we chowed down.   I have lots of leftovers, so I think cooking for the rest of the week will not be necessary.. SCORE!    I have a lot to do this week.
I love that I have the day off, but I think doctors should have to work so I can stream down my ever-growing to do list! LOL
I hope you're all having a fantastic Monday!

OH! I have FOUR guest posters who sent me their posts already.. you're going to LOVE them!   I just need 2-3 more!    You can write about ANYTHING you want, as long as it's PG or PG13! LOL

XOXO to you all!


Thursday 13: Gotta Love Snacks!

Happy Thursday, one and all!  I hope your week is going well. Mine is incredibly busy, but it's flying by!   Wahoo!
Today, I have a guest post over at Kim's blog, Knitten Kittens - please go give her some love while she's on a mission trip! :-)  Speaking of guest posts, I still need a few more for when I go on vacation..  The topic is yours to choose, and hopefully you'll get some blog lovin from some new people!  Email me if you're interested!  laurie9797(at)gmail.com

Today's Thursday 13 is a snack edition - I'm unfortunately a stress eater, so these are my go-to snacks so I don't do too much damage!
  1. Jerky - High protein, and low fat... It's a great snack.  Just watch the sodium!  Good thing is it makes me super thirsty too, so I drink my water!   Have you all heard that there is a caffeinated jerky out there? Have any of you tried it?
  2. Cheese - Who doesn't love cheese?  Another high protein snack, but gotta watch the calories.   The great thing is that a little goes a long way.. it's incredibly filling!
  3. Hard-boiled eggs - Yum!  I love these, and they're the perfect little snack.  
  4. Meatballs - Yeah, a weird snack, but I get some chicken/pineapple meatballs at Costco, and they're delicious.   I usually have 2-3 meatballs for one of my meals/snacks, and it's delish!
  5. Edamame - I love these lil soybeans! Seapoint Farms has a dry roasted edamame, and I love the steamed ones too.   They're very good, filling, and yes, high protein!
  6. Jicama - I love jicama...I sprinkle a little salad dressing on it, and it's a great mini-meal!
  7. Watermelon - Mmmm... I can eat so much of this stuff.  It's unreal!  My favorite fruit by far.
  8. Carnation No Sugar Added Instant Breakfasts - If I need something sweet, this is something that I love.   It's full of protein and vitamins, and tastes pretty good too!
  9. Coffee - technically not a food, but I have a love affair with coffee.  This would actually be #1 on the list.   This week, my favorite is the skinny vanilla latte... next week, who knows! LOL
  10. Tuna Fish/Canned Chicken - Instead of mayo, I mash up avocado and use that as a dressing... it's really good!  Add some celery and hard boiled eggs, and it's a meal!
  11. Pop Chips - this is an empty snack, but I'm human, right? LOL    
  12. Tortilla Pizzas - so many varieties for any taste... delicious! :) 
  13. Bananas - YUM!   I love these things.. :) 
Well, that's it for my Thursday-13!   If you want to join in the fun, head on over to Thursday-13.