Dear Bariatric Girl 2001,

Before and After15 yearsTo: Bariatric Girl 2001

From: Bariatric Girl 2016 (exactly 15 years ago)

Dear Bariatric Girl 2001,

How I wish we could have had a letter like this when we began our journey because there was almost no one who knew anything in 2001.

Guess what??? WE MADE IT! We actually made it 15 years BUT don’t get overconfident because this could change at any moment.

This is what I know so far.

So many thought I’d fail….

So many more hoped I would.

And even sadder, some were disappointed I didn’t regain my weight and worse, I let them make me feel guilty for it.

These are the things I’d like to share with you.

1. Just because you lose the weight DOESN’T MEAN YOU’LL BE AUTOMATICALLY HAPPY!!! Life is life. Same problems…you just weigh less.

2. Some people will do their best to sabotage your journey. REMOVE YOURSELF FROM THOSE PEOPLE! PERIOD…. (I SAID PERIOD)don't ruin Life is like an elevator. Sometimes on the way up you have to stop and let some people off.

3. Move towards the people who look to you for…. basically….anything.  A word of support or kindness for someone who comes to you for advice may mean mountains to them and they actually want you in their lives!  Instead we often find ourselves looking to people who don’t care about us or we spend wasteful time wanting what they have that we don’t. Don’t spoil what you have by desiring what you have not… but remember that what you have now was once among the things that you had only hoped for!

4. Don’t eat crap food, get it ALL out of your house. If it isn’t in your house, don’t start bringing it in. You could never “eat just one”. Trust me, that hasn’t changed so don’t even test it out. Quit trying to force a square peg in a round hole.  You tried for 30 years to “eat just one” and it NEVER worked so consider not eating any. IT’S SO MUCH EASIER TO DO!

5. Get help for your addiction to food because everything else you do will just be putting a Band-Aid on the problem. If you don’t get help for the root problem, you won’t overcome it. Don’t get caught up on whether it’s called addiction, emotional eating… it’s whatever you want to call it. At least call it something, identify the problem, and move towards a solution because you can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge. Um DUHHHHH.

6. Support. Get some. Give some. Refer back to #2. Do not stay in a support group where people become energy vampires that suck the blood from your body. YOU WILL LOSE YOUR BATTLE IF YOU CAUSE MORE STRESS AND CHAOS TO YOUR JOURNEY.

7. Here’s my post where an organization has gathered data from thousands of people who have lost and maintained their weight. Doesn’t it make sense to take the tips reported and try them? These simple tips worked for the majority of people. If what you are doing isn’t working, why not mimic what worked for thousands? What do you have to lose? And if you can’t or are unwilling to try those methods, you must make peace with what you are doing. Get on and live your life instead of beating your head up against a wall. You’ll look up one day and your life will be gone.

I’m pretty sure if you follow these suggestions and keep it simple that you can continue to do this thing. Perhaps most importantly don’t let the phrase “one day at a time” become cliché. It is one of your simplest rules to apply… stay in the now. Worrying is praying for what you don’t want. SO STOP IT!

Lastly….always remember to pick your hard.

choose your hardLove you,

Bariatric Girl 2016



Today is my 14th Surgiversary….14 years of living life!

On March 30, 2001 I could not get inside that operating room fast enough.  As a friend of mine said when he went to his doctor for a consultation “Doc if you want to find a butter knife and start carving on me now, let’s do it!”.  In December of 2000 I heard Carnie Wilson’s story and I called a bariatric surgeon within fifteen minutes.  Yep I did a whole fifteen minutes of research.  When they started to mention mortality rates I told them not to bother.  I literally said “Put me on that table,  fix me, or let me go.” I could not live in my morbidly obese body one more day.  After trying everything known to man for 30 years, this was my last option.

The video below summarizes my journey of the last fourteen years.  I am truly grateful for a second chance at life and for all the lovely people I’ve met through our shared path.


Premier Protein makes your journey much easier!

protein drinks2

Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberries & Cream

I’ve been meaning to post about products I like and today is that day!  Recently the good people at Premier Protein sent me samples so I’m excited!  There are TEN kinds of protein bars! WOW OH WOW are they good.  My husband Kevin is quite happy.

They offer three kinds of liquid protein …. Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberries & Cream.   One of the very first reasons I was drawn to this product years ago was convenience.  As a weight loss surgery post-op there are times when you are caught away from home without good choices and Premier Protein takes care of that.  You can keep the liquid protein in your car or at work and simply pour it over ice or drink it at room temperature.  It’s always difficult when you travel and you’d know this if you’ve ever tried taking white powdered protein through TSA!  Not fun at all!

And protein bar choices?  Peanut Butter Caramel, Honey Caramel, Cookies ‘n Cream, Dark Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Caramel, White Fudge Raspberry, premier groupPeanut Butter Crunch, Double Chocolate Crunch, and Chocolate Mint.  Right now the Chocolate Caramel is my absolute fave.

I cannot imagine you not finding something you like among all this deliciousness.  Dig in and enjoy!


Pain…exactly how am I supposed to work through it?

Skinny Minnie

No matter how hard I work on processing pain, I have a difficult time with this part of learning to heal.  I forced myself to look for pictures that represent something painful to me…. pictures that I pass over quickly every time I come across them. I found two that certainly qualify.

When we avoid pain we are absolutely handing over the keys to the trigger monster who will take us on a new adventure seeking food…. or whatever our coping mechanism is.  This kind of pain never goes away on its own and WILL ALWAYS show up somewhere else because it does not magically float away.

My heart tells me if I feel this I will die! My head tells me this is not true…that I won’t die…. but I still don’t want to feel it so why can’t I think about something else?  In the past I ate.  As soon as the “food high” wore off I ate again.  The problem is that pain doesn’t go away until you deal with it and worse….it can manifest in other ways like physical pain.

RIP boo

Skinny Minnie died several months ago and I lost Boo Radley in November. This post isn’t about my wanting sympathy since I tend to be extremely private about this kind of thing.  It’s embarrassing because some people don’t understand my animals are my children.  I haven’t really dealt with the pain properly so I’m forcing myself to face it and feel these feelings.

This quote by Gary Zukav perfectly illustrates my point.

“The compulsive activities in your life are those activities that are your way of avoiding the experience of painful emotions. That is why you must experience the painful emotions because if you don’t experience your pain you remain locked in your compulsive behaviors which are creating difficult and painful consequences in your life.  Otherwise you won’t fulfill your greatest potential and that’s important because that’s where your deep meaning and sense of purpose resides.”

Sooooo….that means that if we don’t process our emotional pain we are doomed to continue our compulsive behaviors (like reaching for food).  Is it easier to eat and avoid the pain?  You bet it is!  That’s why we do it.

I would like to invite you to try something different next time you want to eat away the pain.  Sit in it….cry and scream if you have to.  Stare at a photograph every day until the pain starts to subside.  Talk about your pain to someone who cares.  It won’t happen overnight but know you are moving closer to healing by facing your pain and working through it.

And better yet?  Try to live your life in such a way that you avoid unnecessary pain….you know the kind….the kind where you get twisted off over something that’s said online or by a co-worker.  Deep down you know it’s NOT about you and all about them.  There is a reason for the saying “misery loves company”.  If you expose yourself to drama or try to control situations you cannot change, you are handing a formal invitation to Mr. Trigger.

In the meantime I’ve got some pain I need to sit in.  Boo Radley and Skinnie Minnie will be forever missed and eventually I will  be able to look at their pictures without experiencing as much grief.  Instead I will do my best to remember all the joy and love they gave me.  I should mostly remember how they were rescued and given a life free of hunger, pain, never being too hot or too cold, and Boo never even knew one day of being afraid.

DSCN3626a - Copy copy

Kalli Cat and new born Boo Radley


12 Days of Christmas Weight Loss Surgery Style!

I posted this on my Bariatric Girl Facebook page and someone requested that I share it here.   I hope you enjoy my silliness!



What is all about….saving lives one grant at a time.

I did this video for the WLSFA Sand and Sea Adventure in Tampa 2014 to show exactly what does. WLSFA raises money for those who are denied weight loss surgery.  At the event in April we added two more recipients!  I intentionally wanted the room completely dark when it started to set a mood so the video does begin with voice only (who is my talented husband Kevin McCarthy).



Take off those regain glasses and turn it around!


regain glasses

Regain glasses suck.

The moment regain becomes a problem we put on those regain glasses and NOTHING looks good.

A few years ago I distinctly remember reading a post from a woman that went something like this.

I hate my hair.  I don’t like my face and don’t know how to use makeup. I hate what I’m eating every day and I’m sick of it.  Oh and I gained 5 pounds.

One of my most often repeated quotes….”we are rarely upset for the reason we think”.  Of course I assume you can guess what she was really upset about.  I wrote her and told her to get a cute haircut, go to a department store and get someone to show her how to do makeup (free) or check out thousands of makeup videos on You Tube.  I also told her she could change what she eats every day.  Of course none of that made her feel better because she didn’t FEEL like doing any of that because she was wearing her regain glasses loud and proud.  It is a vicious cycle because you can’t fix the regain until you feel better and you won’t feel better unless you fix the regain.

It seems that for most people everything looks pretty awful through those regain glasses.  I want to help you take them off.   You say “Yeah right…like I haven’t tried… and mostly….. I don’t FEEL like it.  I don’t feel like doing anything.”  I have often pointed out that when you were at this weight on the way down you were ecstatic!  Do you see how your perspective totally messes with your head?  Why do we obsess about the lowest weight we ever reached instead of constantly realizing what our highest weight was and being grateful we aren’t there?  And if you choose to obsess about your lowest weight, doesn’t it make sense to move towards doing something about it instead of continuing to walk down regain road?

Unfortunately we have this big adjustment to make after weight loss surgery because the first year we are wearing the “honeymoon glasses” and EVERYTHING looks GREAT!  Remember how wonderful everything was when you lost your first 30-40 pounds?  Yet you were heavier than you are now.  You could hardly mess up at all the first year.  It was all good!

One day you wake up and you can’t find your honeymoon glasses.  You start to take for granted the little things like being able to tie your shoes, paint your toe nails, fit in an airplane seat….. and the next thing you know it isn’t enough anymore. Some of us hang in there for a while or even a long while and eventually something shifts and you start to think about how much you miss those honeymoon glasses…. you start looking for that feeling in other things like our old friend Mr. Food.  He’s tappin’ you on the shoulder every day…”Pssst….remember me? Remember how much fun we had?  Oh come on… a little sum-um sum-um won’t hurt you”.  All the while your old friend has some regain glasses stuck in his back pocket just waiting to slide them on your face.

One of the most extreme cases of the perspective meter being out of whack was a woman I met who had lost 485 pounds.  Not a typo!  She lost 485 pounds but she had gained 40 back.  She was all out of sorts and literally more miserable than when she weighed her heaviest.

485 pounds 40 lbs

I asked her to imagine that 485 pounds sitting on the floor.  Right next to it 40 lbs. I guess we could say it looks something like this.  (For those with perfectly analytical brains please forgive me…I guesstimated it)

I told her not to give that 40 pounds the time of day and dust it off. We give that regain so much power and of course we can pile plenty of shame on top of that for good measure.  Shame is toxic, shame keeps us down.  Shame keeps those horrible regain glasses cemented to our face.

Here’s the thing….if you don’t take off the glasses and begin to turn things around….chances are that you’ll look up in another year with more regain.  Get off the insanity train today. Of course you remember… “Insanity=doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome”

Everyone is different but here are a few suggestions.  You can’t build Rome in a day but you can always do the next best thing. (Thank you Post-Op and a Doc for “the next best thing”)

Look at your before picture in the morning and FEEL what you felt like.  Sit it that for a while. I do that every morning without fail. Remember the things you wanted so badly.  BE GRATEFUL you aren’t there. If I could put you back in that body for a week you would be SO grateful to be you right now.

Quit thinking about the perceived mountain you have to move and pick up the shovel and start with one scoop at a time.  Instead of Nike’s “just do it”, change it to “just start”.  (Thank you Chuck for that one) It’s too overwhelming to plan into the next century.  I can hear the questions now….how long will this take?  It DOES NOT matter.  Just move toward your goal instead of away from it….. just for today.  Today is all that counts.

Get the crap food out of your house.  I know many people who find creative ways to do this with a family that feels they have to have the crap food.  Put it in a place it can locked up but you’d do your family a favor by getting it out of their reach as well.  Sugar and junk food is as addictive as any drug and they will guarantee that you will still be wearing those regain glasses.  See my “M&M” story in this post.

Find a way to move your body that you can enjoy.  I LOVE to dance.  I hate to run….I wanted to love it but I don’t.  I wanted that runner’s high and I just could not get it.  I love yoga and if you think you can’t do it, watch this! I describe yoga as slow dancing with yourself.   Abby Lentz from Heartfelt Yoga is a dear friend. Look her up, she has DVD’s.

You won’t do anything for very long if you perceive it as suffering.  When you eat healthier food envision how you are nourishing your body.  Remember it will make you feel better and look better instead of putting on more weight which equates to depression, physical pain, more misery and a shorter life span.  Again the most important part of this is to stop the bleeding that has begun with regain.  Nothing in life is easy so here comes your choices……choose your hard.

choose your hard


Dr. Brene Brown – Shame is Lethal

I’m sharing this from my Bariatric Girl Facebook Page.



Super Dieters share their six weight loss tips

super dietersEver since this story aired on the evening news I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.  For years the National Weight Control Registry has been keeping records and documentation of those who have lost weight and kept it off for years.  The term “Super Dieters” tends to turn me off a bit because we all know diets don’t work and no one should be called “Super” as if figuring out how to manage your weight somehow gives you magic powers.  I’ve been a member for several years.  The questions are extensive… they ask everything you eat, your activity, how much you weigh, did you gain, did you lose, etc.

Ok…. so they gave us six tips these people seem to have in common and I’m thinking most people won’t get past the first one.   Just like knowing the sky is blue, this first tip will be just like being told it isn’t….but what if this nugget is really spot-on?  Truth is it won’t apply to everyone but I’m going to attempt to explain why it might apply to way more than you think.

Let’s get the next part over with (the posting of the list) so we can go ahead and get done with the screaming after reading the first rule.

Rule No. 1. Don’t ever cheat. They never give themselves a break, not even on holidays or weekends.

Rule No. 2.  Eat breakfast. The National Weight Control Registry shows that’s one of the most common traits of those who succeed in keeping those pounds off once and for all.

Rule No. 3. Get on a scale every day.

Rule No. 4. Put in the equivalent of a four-mile walk seven days a week.

Rule No. 5. Watch less than half as much TV as the overall population.

Rule No. 6. Eat 50 to 300 calories less than most people.

So rule 4,5, and 6 deal with the “stuff” we’ve heard forever….calories in/calories out.  For years I never ate breakfast because every day for over three decades I woke up with the idea that I would go as long as possible without eating.  Too bad no one was around to tell me in the 4th grade that I was destroying my metabolism.  So check…Rule 2 is a given. Since finding out there are about approximately 2,000 steps in a mile, most days…Rule 4, check!

Rule 5 done.  Sometimes I watch TV while I’m walking so I’m not sure exactly how that fits in.

Rule 3 is an absolute for me.  “Hello scale” every morning…it just gives me feedback and it has no special monster powers.   I’ll do a “part two” in order to cover this in another post because this one is for everyone still laying on the floor from a cold faint after reading Rule 1.

My surgery was nearly 13 years ago and I’ve learned many, many things.  Some beliefs that were absolutes changed and Rule 1 was one of them.  I’ve told this before and I’m telling it again.  Early on I would allow myself my one guilty pleasure ONLY IF I was able to get 5 pounds below goal. (It was a Quarter Pounder with cheese – insert my self induced shame).   I was somehow able to stick to that but what I noticed was on the days I couldn’t have it, I wanted it!  Eventually it became harder and nearly impossible to get 5 pounds below goal and after some period of time I also realized that I was beginning to forget how my “crack” meal tasted.  Then I totally forgot and I didn’t even crave it anymore.  Because I stopped eating it I had successfully rewired my brain to lose the cravings.  I was also acutely aware the cravings would come right back if I ate another one…even one bite.   Um….duh.  That’s sort of like quitting cigarettes and having one just for fun after 3 years.  I’ll say this again too. For me, the idea of taking a bite of something to get past the craving equates to giving an alcoholic a sip of beer to stop the craving.  SOME of us can take these bites but so many cannot.

If I had a quarter for every post-op that told me the M&M story, I could take a trip to Mexico.   The M&M story you might ask?  Maybe it’s because they are tiny…but the story always starts the same.  “I was doing great for 2 years, 4 years, (sometimes even longer) and I ate one M&M.  Really what could that hurt?  Next it was two then three…then a small bag, a bigger bag.”  Some call it testing the waters.  They went such a long time without one single M&M and nobody died, they certainly didn’t miss out on anything of nutritional value and they were doing great until they decided they could try just one. In other words they never cheated during that time and most were at the weight they wanted to be or at least smaller than after they started the M&M’s.   You CAN be abstinent from sugar and junk food and it is far easier if you have none instead of a little for those that struggle with not being able to stop.

Again let me repeat….IF you can “eat just one”, go for it.  I’m beyond thrilled for you!!!  If you find you are not losing or you are in the process of regain, you could always try stopping any food you don’t wish to crave. Try it for a month but approach it one day at a time.  When I’m somewhere and there’s a bowl of M&M’s, I look at it as if it’s a bowl of cyanide. Sugar put me in the prison of an obese body and at the end I would have rather died than spend another day at my heaviest weight.   And really….if you were a drug addict would you allow yourself a cheat snort once a week?

This is a great quote that applies.  100% is easy, 99% is a bitch.  Not eating processed sugar and junk food 100% is so easy but 99% leaves a ton of wiggle room.  It has became totally effortless for me to avoid these foods but please don’t misunderstand… journey is still something I work on every….singleday.

If you still think this is utterly ridiculous, file it away for later.  My favorite quote:

  • There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation.

It means don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

And just in case you might have missed this before… I’ll leave you with an oldie but goodie.. .

quarter pounders


Now THIS clarifies food addiction!


Photography/Art by Yvonne McCarthy

I finally found an article about food addiction written in a way that is easily understood by all.  Below you will find the normal behavior versus the addictive behavior.  Here’s an excerpt from that section:

  •  Dependence on food will be habitual, while addiction to food will be somewhat unpredictable (e.g., a morning cup of coffee versus the sudden, inexplicable drive to eat four servings of cheesecake)
  •  Dependence on food will have few, if any, emotional causes, but addiction to food is provoked by emotions and circumstances that cause feelings of powerlessness (e.g., a treat to get through a trying day at work versus a binge to avoid focusing on painful thoughts
  •  Dependence on food will have few, if any, emotional effects, whereas addiction to food will cause great anxiety if not properly attended to
    (e.g., being cranky due to caffeine deprivation versus feeling panicked because a planned binge is interrupted)
  •  Dependence on food will cause minimal interference in other areas of a person’s life, but addiction to food will disturb every aspect
    (e.g., a love for red wine with dinner versus preferring to eat alone for the sake of overeating)
  •  Dependence on food can be controlled at will, but food addiction appears as an unstoppable force in the person’s life
    (e.g., giving up pizza after noticing slight weight gain versus trying to stick to a healthy eating plan but derailing constantly; having a divided mind that seems to want opposite things)
  •  Dependence on food is pleasurable, but food addiction is a torment
    (e.g., traditional Christmas cookies versus the horror one has that one has eaten the whole box of cookies, coupled with the knowledge that one isn’t done yet)
  •  Dependence on food is casual, whereas food addiction appears to the addicted person to be closely tied to his or her identity
    (e.g., the guilty pleasure of Cheetos versus the shame and feelings of inadequacy that often accompany a binge)

Perhaps one of the most important paragraphs is below: (helpful to read the entire article)

What happened in this scenario demonstrates what, for many people, is the central issue of food addiction. Bingeing allows the food-addicted person to avoid dealing with threatening emotions (such as his or her perceived failure, powerlessness, or inferiority) by replacing them with guilt and shame, which are also threatening, but in a familiar, almost comfortable way. In the mind of the food-addicted person, the pivotal issue is lack of willpower. But in truth, they are using food to defend themselves against the pain in their life. By facilitating this transfer and avoidance of emotions, food has become a drug, and it is at this point that the food-addicted person needs to seek help.


Bingeing has a different meaning for most people.  When I was obese I thought it meant that you ate in the closet in the dark with a whole package of Oreos and a gallon of milk.  Of course I didn’t do that so I didn’t think it applied to my behavior. (umm…denial) Finally I realized that my weekend routine of buying a huge Bucket ‘O Chicken and locking myself in my apartment from Friday evening until going to work on Monday morning was certainly a form of bingeing. The same thing applied to my Quarter Pounder with Cheese obsession. I’m sure the Dallas quarterly earnings  dropped significantly around the time I woke up to my dependence on this junk food.


quarter pounders

Most importantly please, please, please….do not walk the path of shame.  From that same paragraph the very important part of the article… “In the mind of the food-addicted person, the pivotal issue is lack of willpower. But in truth, they are using food to defend themselves against the pain in their life.”  How sad it is that we are just trying to avoid the pain of life by using food.  The problem is that it never works without paying a great price.  Ask for help, educate yourself, and know that freedom from this disease is truly possible.

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