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Life After Bariatric Surgery – 30-day Ab and Squat Challenge

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My niece just invited me to do a 30-day ab and squat challenge and I am beyond excited. My exercise routine is going great. I’m doing plenty of cardio and weight training. Now I want to tone. I want to see killer ab muscles and frankly I want an awesome butt.

The challenge can be found on the website Tribesports.  I’m new to the site but am totally addicted. It’s a social media site for fitness-minded people. There are tons of great articles, workouts and discussions. Here is how Tribesports describes itself:

Tribesports was the born out of the belief that sharing your goals and broadcasting your achievements will make you do more sport. We believe that your online sports communities should be free to use and should help you log, review and improve your training. To date, thousands of people have already been inspired to take on Challenges, share their training tips and generally becoming more active.

How cool is that?

I’ve joined seven different tribes: Core Strength, Yoga Postures, Squatters, Healthy Eating Habits, Get Fit Without Joining a Gym, Sports Nutrition and Abs of Steel.

Check out the site and if you like it, join me (Cindy D @cindydevin) in the 30-day ab and squat challenge and let’s get toned!

Say No to Chocolate?

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Chocolate peanut butter cups

Well this is a first. Today I made four dozen chocolate peanut butter cups for my daughter and I didn’t have the slightest urge to try one. Instead I gave in to my craving for cherry tomatoes. Yes, you read that right. I passed up chocolate and peanut butter for tomatoes. Not even an urge. I feel like I have super-powers. Healthy eating is paying off.

Life After Bariatric Surgery – Exercise

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You’ve seen the commercials that claim if you pay for a weight loss product or plan you will “lose weight without dieting or exercise.” Simply put, that statement is bullshit.

No matter what the commercials say, you cannot lose weight by putting sprinkles on your food or eating “diet” cookies.  If those products worked, we would all be thin.

The fact is you have to eat healthy, drink water, sleep well and exercise. Simple? Yes. Easy? Not really. It takes work.  And dedication. And commitment. And it’s hard. But the outcome will be totally worth it.

Yesterday was my second post-op appointment after bariatric surgery (sleeve). I’ve lost 34.9 pounds so far and a total of 42.5 inches. I am almost halfway to my weight loss goal and proud as can be. As I watch my body morph into a fitter version of me, it motivates me that much more. I actually look forward to working out – crave it in fact.

I work out about 5 days a week.  I’m not really a gym person. I like to do my own thing so I have a cardio room and a weight room in my house. My gym equipment has been among the best investments I’ve ever made.

In addition to cardio and weights I also do yoga, belly dance and swim. My niece and I have been in the pool at least three times each week this summer.  We usually spend 90 minutes or so doing pool exercises while her kids play. It’s a win-win situation for all of us.

The old advice “find what you like and do it” is good advice.  If treadmills and weights are not your thing, grab a friend and take a dance class, hit the hiking trails or play a sport. The important thing is to find a physical activity you enjoy and just do it. And if you get board, add something new to the mix.

It’s Hard to Get Where You Want to Go Unless You Know Where That Is

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“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Losing weight can seem like an overwhelming process but one very important component of the weight loss journey is to create realistic goals and then do everything in your power to achieve those goals.

Weight-loss goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Realistic, well-planned weight-loss goals keep you focused and motivated. They provide a plan for change as you transition to a healthier lifestyle (mayoclinic.com).

Ask yourself how much weight you want to lose. How are you going to do it? What is your timeframe? How are you going to track it?

There are two types of goals: outcome goals and process goals. An outcome goal is usually big – it’s the end result of what you want. “I’m going to lose 60 pounds” is an example of an outcome goal.

Process goals define how you are going to get to your outcome. They are the roadmap for your journey. For example: “work out 3 times per week” and “keep daily calorie intake under 1200 calories” are examples of process goals.

These are simple examples of goal setting but the message is DO IT. Write down your goals and monitor them daily.

Other weight loss goal articles I found interesting:

http://exercise.about.com/od/weightloss/a/weightlossgoals.htm

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/how-to-set-goal

http://www.fitwatch.com/weight-loss/weight-loss-goals-2-ways-to-set-goals-219.html

I Refuse To Give Up On Myself

I Refuse To Give Up On Myself

I am a work in progress. I truly understand the phrase “one day at a time.”  Each day I feel stronger, more fit and definitely a bit more confident. I have a clear idea of the body I want. I picture it so clearly in my mind and make conscious decisions every day to stay on the path I’ve chosen. I will not give up – I will not give in. I’m going for it. I refuse to give up on myself.

I Finally Got Tired of Being Sick and Tired

Fresh and healthy food choices - Pikes Market, Seattle

Fresh and healthy food choices – Pikes Market, Seattle

I remember the moment earlier this year when I finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired.

My weight had gone through the roof, my triglycerides and blood sugar levels were higher than ever and my self-esteem was at an all-time low.

It was February and my family doctor gave me a referral to a local surgeon who specializes in bariatric surgery and I remember thinking “this isn’t for me,” but decided to check it out.

Turns out it was for me.

Bariatric surgery (also known as weight loss surgery) includes a variety of procedures performed on people who are obese. “Bariatric” refers to the causes, prevention and treatment of obesity.

The road to bariatric surgery is not a fast or easy process. In fact, the initial process can take two to three months if you qualify for treatment.

The first step was attending a group seminar with my surgeon and a bariatric patient advocate to learn about the different types of bariatric procedures available, the requirements, pros and cons to each and insurance process.

Next was the insurance verification process. The bariatric patient advocate contacted my health insurance provider to determine if bariatric surgery was covered under my plan (not all providers cover this type of surgery). I was lucky, mine did.

Next I met with the surgeon for a one-on-one consultation and together we determined that a vertical sleeve gastrectomy (or sleeve gastrectomy) was the correct surgery for me.

Then came the psychological evaluation, nutritional counseling, lab work, pre-admission testing, final approval from my insurance provider and a pre-op appointment with my surgeon.

My surgery was on June 5. My surgeon removed a large portion of my stomach, approximately 85%, which makes my stomach now the size of an egg.

Gastric sleeve surgery limits the amount of food you can eat by making you feel full after eating small amounts of food. And I do mean small. I’m 38 days post-op and have lost 30.6 pounds.  A few bites of soft protein for dinner (cottage cheese, refried beans, a scrambled egg) are enough to fill me up and satisfy me. Breakfast and lunch consist of a low carbohydrate, low sugar high-protein shake.

In addition, the part of the stomach that is removed during a sleeve gastrectomy contains cells that produce the hunger hormone, ghrelin. By drastically reducing the production of ghrelin, my appetite has been incredibly reduced. Bonus!

But … and this is a big but (no pun intended) … this surgery is not the end-all, be-all to losing weight. It is a tool and I must do my part by exercising and make healthy food choices.  Each day I follow four simple rules:

  • Eat protein first at every meal
  • Drink at least 64 ounces of water
  • Exercise 60 minutes
  • Absolutely no snacking

I went in to this surgery fully informed and educated and it turns out this was the right decision for me. My goal is to lose 50 more pounds and I look forward to the day I can post my “before” and “after” pictures.

Mud, Guts and Cancer Sucks


I went ahead and did it. I signed up for the Dirty Girl Fun Run in San Diego next February. Yikes. I have to admit I’m a bit scared. I’m not in the best shape of my life, but this will give me motivation to get there. In order for me to lose weight and get fit, I have to be in that zone in my mind. You know that super-focused, I’m-ready-to-do-this zone. Well I am finally there. And with me on this journey are my two-sisters-in-law and my two nieces. We are ready (or will be in february) to get down and dirty for a good cause – A portion of all registration fees is donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Both my Mother and Grandmother are breast cancer survivors so this is personal. But it’s about more than that. It’s about sharing hope, celebrating successes and teamwork.

Dirty Girl is a 5k womens only run for women of all ages and athletic abilities. It’s not a “race” in the traditional sense. It is a untimed obstacle course designed to push participants slightly out of their comfort zone, but only as far as they are comfortable going. Forming teams is encouraged, and so is helping fellow Dirty Girls get through to the finish. Organizers say “At a Dirty Girl Mud Run you’ll find excitement, laughter, and camaraderie—as well as lots of music and even some adult beverages. It’s a day you’ll never forget.”

With obstacles such as stairway to heaven, Utopian tubes, h2OMG and down and dirty I can well imagine it’s a day we won’t soon forget. Plus it’s in beautiful San Diego, California.

I’ve never before been in any type of fitness challenge and I’m really looking forward to proving to myself that I can do it. And getting dirty just puts the icing on the cake.

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