New Weekly Recipe Sharing Pool

On May 4th, 2015, posted in: blog by


Recipe Share

Hi Everyone:

Well, as promised, we have a new way to make your weekly meal planning not only easier but to keep variety in your planning too. Each week each member joining in will contribute one recipe. That’s simple enough, right? It needs to be a high protein recipe that is flavorful, quick to prepare or at least easy to put together (for example for crock pot if it’s not a quick fix recipe). You’ll post your recipe to that week’s Recipe Share by Friday at 7:00 p.m. This will give everyone a pool of recipes to make their weekly menus and grocery lists from and will make it easier to keep variety in their meal planning too. Instead of trying to constantly find new recipes on your own, you’re sharing the task with your support family. That makes it much easier. One recipe is simple! Plus you can share how you and/or your family liked the recipe (if you’ve tested it). For those that don’t want to pick and choose for themselves, I’ll post an Editor’s Choice list each week from the recipes posted as well. So you’ll have two options . . . choosing your own menu or printing the prechosen one. Then all you have to do is print the recipes to go with it.

We’re going to utilize both the Facebook Group and the Message Board. The Message Board is the ideal place for this and I’ll do my best to keep an eye on both and transfer any that don’t get posted both places. This is extra work on my part but I’m trying to make this better and easier for you. This is about you and making your food choices easier. So many have written that this is their downfall. We’re doing our best to help with that problem and take that excuse off the table. This Recipe Share won’t work if you don’t participate or you don’t utilize this. We’re simplifying this as far as we can. The next step is yours. One recipe is something any of us can do. It doesn’t have to be limited to a dinner recipe. It’s your choice. Share the recipe that you want to share.

Here are the links where to post your recipe:

Message Board/Recipe Share:

Each week you’ll see one under that thread for the current week

Facebook Discussion/Recipe Share:

If you have questions, post to the thread so everyone else that might have the same questions will have access to the same answers too.

Come on . . join in! We’ve posted some recipes to get the ball rolling and we look forward to seeing and sharing your contributions too. As always, you know we’re always here to help you and you can reach out to us anytime. These sites and groups are about you and for you. We look forward to seeing you there!

Melissa & Dan
The Weight-Loss Surgery Connection

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Choices & Priorities

On May 7th, 2010, posted in: blog by


You know we talk to thousands and thousands of WLS patients and read even more thousands of emails. We hear the stresses and the life stories that get in the way each and every day. The things that “keep” people from making good choices . . . at least that’s their words to us. They tell us, very sincerely, about how they don’t have “time” to eat the right things or how they don’t have “time” to take their vitamins or how they don’t have “time” to plan a meal or how they don’t have “time” to exercise and the list goes on and on. Now they do have time to email or watch tv at night or any number of other things but they don’t have “time” for their health. Huh? Let’s talk about this and really put it into perspective a little better.

You know, it is choices . . read that again CHOICES. YOUR CHOICES. Life is always going to get in the way. There isn’t a single one of us that has it easy every day. There’s going to be some form of stress that gets in the way. Maybe we just don’t have enough time to do everything we need or to get all the kids to the events they have or to handle even the day-to-day tasks at hand. Add in jobs, bills, health issues, family issues, friend issues, cars breaking down, pets to care for, neighbors to help, events to plan or attend. Believe me, I do understand. Dan & I work no less than 18 hours each and every single day. We answer in excess of 10,000 emails every single month, plus the message board, the group, do speaking engagements. Oh, did I mention that I’m CEO of a thriving business as well that takes all around the country as well? Add in that we have 6 kids, 6/soon to be 7 grandkids (and we’re so proud of all the kids and grandkids). That’s just scratching the surface of our world. Even with all of that, we still have to make ourselves and our health a priority before all of that.

There’s always going to be something. Even in a bare bones minimal day, we all have homes to care for and meals to plan and laundry to do and groceries to buy and jobs to do. Do you see a pattern here? No matter what you do or where you are, there are going to be demands. Even if you are retired, there are still demands. As long as we are living and breathing, there are demands and expectations.

So we have to make our choices a normal part of our day, a necessity. Our own needs to keep us on track and healthy has to be one of those priorities in our day. Just like breathing! It needs to be THAT important! It doesn’t need to be optional to skip over. We lived the morbid obese life before WLS. We walked through that miserable time where we tried everything didn’t we? We all jumped through hoops and did everything we had to do to have the surgery that was going to change our lives, right? We had MAJOR SURGERY as a last option. OMG, that’s extreme so now we need to remember that. Sometimes time itself seems to fade out the severity of our memories. Don’t let it do that. Remember how horrible and sharp and miserable it was being morbidly obese!

So why, after finally having the surgery and seeing how well it works and KNOWING what we have to do . . . . do we convince ourselves that it’s okay to put our needs on the back burner? Why do we allow ourselves to become less important again? I want you each to know how important you are! You have gone through more than most will ever experience. You have fought so hard to get here and to get healthy again, both physically and emotionally. Don’t let little things sidetrack you and send you back to where you started. It can happen and in tiny little steps and without you even realizing it. You don’t want to wake up and find you’re back at square one. You’ve come so far and endured so much. You’ve worked so hard. Do you really want to let it go and inch your way back to where you were before? Or even part way back there? Is there any part of the morbid obese lifestyle you would want again? Of course not!

If you are at square one . . you know we’re here for you. If you’re off track . . you know we’re here for you. But it’s all in your control to make the choices to make you a priority. It’s OKAY to put you and your health first. It’s OKAY to take the time to meal plan and to think about what vitamins and supplements you need. It’s OKAY if that takes priority over something else on your “to do” list because without you, there is no “to do” list in the first place for you to complete.

If your spouse or your partner or your child had a life saving, life alterning procedure and you knew they had to do certain things each day to stay on track . .. you would want them to do what they needed to do, wouldn’t you? Give yourself that same permission to do what you need. Remember where you were before surgery and why you did all of this. The steps you need to take everyday are so much smaller and so much easier than where you used to be, aren’t they? I mean, menu planning, weighing and/or measuring foods, reading labels, taking vitamins and supplements and even short term food journaling. Those are all pretty easy things in comparison to not being able to walk or breathe or tie our shoes or having life threatening diseases due to morbid obesity. Who remembers having to buy clothes that all came with letters attached (XXXL, 26W, etc)? Who remembers having to use seat belt extenders? Who remembers needing help doing basic tasks like tying your shoes or even putting your shoes on? Who remembers the embarrassment of not even being able to take care of our own personal hygiene because we couldn’t reach where we needed to reach? As crude as this sounds, we all know it’s true and real and a part of the morbid obese world. Not things or places we want to revisit.

Start today and make excuses a thing of the past. Make choices a priority .. choices for you. You didn’t come this far and fight this hard to go back! So you may need to get up a few minutes earlier or you watch one less tv program or you tell someone they have to wait. That just has to be a part of your reality. They’ll get over it and you’ll survive. They key is that by you making the choices that are in YOUR best interest are going to keep you healthier and feeling better which is going to in turn make for a happier home too where those day-to-day stresses are just a little easier to handle. At least you won’t have morbid obesity or weight issues to be added to that stress list. Put your name on top of that priority list. Make choices for you so you can and will be around to make a difference.

-Melissa & Dan

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Why We Don’t Count Calories

On May 6th, 2010, posted in: blog by


So many are used to years and years of dieting and dieting mentality that it’s hard to break those old routines and the old one way of thinking and looking at food and the way we approach it and control it. You can imagine people’s shock and surprise then as we were constantly asked how many calories a day they should stick to and we constantly told them, we don’t count calories, ever. You read that right. We don’t count calories at all. Now I’m sure that one has you scratching your head and wondering, right? Why, if we’ve had weight loss surgery (WLS) and we’re at goal are we not ever going to count calories and how did we get to goal without counting them? Why would we not count them? I mean everything “diet” screams about how we must count them now doesn’t it? But remember, we’re NEVER dieting again!

When we had our surgery, our amazing surgeon really made this one hit home with us a long time ago and I’ll share that with you as well. It was so simple that it clicked with us right away and he was so right and we’ve followed his philosophy every single day with great success. Even more than that, we’ve heard this same shared philosophy from many other surgeons along the way too. So what is it? We know that calories = energy and that too many calories equal weight gain and a caloric deficit means a weight loss. We also know that counting calories = diet and that’s something we’ll NEVER do again! So then WHY do we NOT count calories? Because as our very wise surgeon told us (and many other surgeons since), if we are indeed keeping our portions to the right sizes and reaching for our proteins first and our carbs second and using our 2:1 protein to carb ratio as a rule of thumb, then the caloric intake will keep itself in line and there will be no need to count calories. The key is the right portions. Let me say that one again .. . the right portions for that tiny pouch. We cannot stress enough the benefit of weighing and measuring to get familiar with what true portions look like and feel like in that tiny pouch. Too many people fool themselves into “thinking” they are eating 3 oz. of something when in reality it may be 6 or 8 oz. and they are stretching and stretching what they are putting into their pouch.

Did you know that the area where the staples are placed for Roux-en-Y (RNY) is typically in the thickest part of the stomach wall? That means it takes a considerable amount over a considerable time frame for you to stretch that pouch, but you do see and hear it happening. That’s because of carelessness and assumptions. Why go through major surgery to then assume? If it’s foods you eat on a regular basis, it really doesn’t take a long time to get where you really can recognize true portions, but even at 6.5 yrs post-op, Dan & I still check ourselves too. We don’t want to wake up one day and realize that we had let it slip up a half ounce at a time. Would you? It’s just too simple to weigh and/or measure. There are such great scales available too! We have two that are our favorites. One we keep at home (countertop version) and one that is portable. Of course, looking up nutrition info is fast and easy too, but look it up before you eat it, not after!

Another tip . . . this is a great website where you can enter a full recipe and the servings and it will give you the full nutrition info back immediately too. It’s not like some of the others where you have to look up item by item. This one you enter the full recipe in one box and submit. Fast and simple.

As a side note, proteins will stick with you longer and make you feel full longer. Not only that but you hear me say it every single day .. . we need the proteins first and foremost for not only our muscles but our blood cells, bones, immune system and more. You want to steer clear of slider foods. Slider foods are things like soups, puddings, Jell-O, yogurt, crackers, pretzels, popcorn, mashed potatoes, applesauce, that just move quickly through your pouch. You don’t get the satiety from those foods and typically they’re just high in carbs too. That will tend to get started on a grazing pattern, carbs making you crave carbs, and start off a head hunger trend that will frustrate you and start weight gain too. You need the good pairing of your good proteins and your good veggies and/or fruit combination through the day in the right proportions.

So remember, getting back to what we were talking about, you don’t have to count calories but you do have to pay attention to portion sizes. That means weighing and/or measuring so you get a true perspective on what you’re consuming. It doesn’t have to be complicated but it does have to be the right amounts for that tiny pouch and it does have to be the right foods to sustain you and to fit your new needs. We all have to relearn the way we eat after we start this new life. Basic nutrition guidelines aren’t the same for us as post-op patients and we have our own special set of requirements. A little attention now will form the habits you need to carry you through for many years of long term weight loss maintenance success ahead.

-Melissa & Dan

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