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A Lesson in Distracted Eating for WLS Fitness Contest Winner

Guest Blog
By Dawn Brell 
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Dawn Brell rocking her vampiress for Halloween 2013

After a week with a few set backs Pandora asked me to write a blog about my experiences.  I have to say that anyone who has been through this have my sympathies and respect and for those who haven’t I hope that you never have to.  So we are going to talk about distracted eating and the consequences of that.  Star Date OCT 17 2013 (lol star trek humor) I was having a wonderful rib eye steak for supper. Normally when I eat I don’t do other things.  I focus on my food and eat slowly.  But this was the first time that I was going to miss my hockey team on TV. So I was trying to find it on the internet so I could listen and I was Facebook-ing and messing with paperwork.  So I was not watching how I cut my food. I was not thinking about my chewing.  You may guess where this is headed.  After a little bit of eating I knew that I had a problem.  I could tell that I had a piece of steak caught in my pouch.  It was a pain that I have never experienced.  I finally pushed my plate away and sat for probably an hour with my head on the table and rocking back and forth in my chair.  It didn’t do anything.  I finally decided that I was going to sip on some Powerade and hope that it would move.  No luck at all.  It did not move. I finally decided that I was going to put my hockey game on my phone and go to bed.  I laid in bed and just had pain, pain, pain. I decided that if I could get sick I would feel better. But no matter what I tried it was not going to move.  I couldn’t even force myself to get sick. It was stuck and it was REALLY stuck.  I couldn’t lay on my back at all because I couldn’t breathe and it felt like I was being ripped in half.  All I could do was roll side to side and cry.  It was awful.  It took about 14 hours for it to move.

My advice is to not partake in distracted eating.

I did try to do the right thing and the next day for lunch I had soup. This was the right thing to do but I didn’t stick with it long enough. For dinner I had a small grilled chicken sandwich.  I ate light all weekend but I was eating solids. I was not having pain so I thought I was ok to do that.  Fast forward to star date Oct 22. I had a half a cheeseburger for lunch and then dinner rolled around.  We were going to grill pork steak for supper.  I had a strange “don’t eat it” feeling but I had been feeling well so I thought it was going to be ok. I cut all the fat off and get rid of it.  I ate a little of the meat. I made sure that I was cutting it very small and chewing and chewing and chewing.  I thought it was going well.  I ate until I felt full.  But about 30 minutes later. I had that same horrible pain as last week.  It was horrible.  I decided that something might really be wrong and was going to go to the hospital.

 No food is worth dying for. No food is worth being in pain for. No food is worth a permanent problem. – Dawn Brell

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Dawn pausing for a moment for one of those epic “Selfies” that remind us how far we have come.

As I was heading outside to go, the cold hit me and I got very very sick.  But after all of that I felt so much better.  So I went back inside and tried to relax.  But every 20-30 minutes I was still getting sick. I was so sick and finally got empty and was just bringing up foam.  I could not even hold down a sip of water.  After about 5 hours the pain was unbearable and I had no choice but to go to the hospital.  I was not excited about that at all. I have small fragile veins so for me the hospital is basically cruel torture.  But given that I may have been having a huge complication I was going to have to endure that torture.  They had a hard time getting an IV started and blew a few veins.  They finally got the IV going and I was given anti nausea and vomiting medicine.  I was given a lot of pain medicine.  I finally started to feel a little better and was able to get a little sleep.  I am now covered in horrible bruises but a small price to pay.  I did email my surgeon to tell them what happened. I was still worried that I had something stuck.  They didn’t do any x-rays at my local hospital. They basically said I hurt my pouch and it needed to rest.  My surgeon called me to get all of the details.  I told them everything and what had been happening.  Basically they told me that I need to go liquids for 3 days and then mushy for 3 days. I am also back to taking antacids everyday to aid in the healing also. I did have the right idea in doing soup after the first episode but I gave up on it fast. I enjoy eating now.  I used to inhale my food and never tasted it.  Now I have a new appreciation for it however I still have rules to follow. I am blessed that I can eat almost anything and everything post surgery I have very limited problem foods.  But I know that I have to do this because I can do permanent damage to pouch.  I didn’t let it rest and just kept irritating and irritating it until I had another problem.  A blockage or obstruction is a common complication for us and people do get sick and sadly some of them do pass away. I have experienced that in my life actually.

I couldn't help but throw in these photos of our "How do you celebrate success" Contest Winner Dawn Brell, showing off where she has been as she swims in her old jeans. Congratulations Dawn, I can't wait to run with you in January!

I couldn’t help but throw in these photos of our “How do you celebrate success” Contest Winner Dawn Brell, showing off where she has been as she swims in her old jeans. Congratulations Dawn, I can’t wait to run with you in January!

My advice is to not partake in distracted eating.  You never want to experience this pain.  You don’t want to have to worry about having a serious complication. You don’t want to have to give up eating.  I will tell you it is hard.  Its only day 2 and I hate it about as much as I did a year ago pre-op.  So be mindful of your eating, be mindful of the size of your pieces, be mindful that you are chewing. It sounds simple and I can say I took it for granted until this happened. But I don’t want to repeat this. I don’t want to do permanent damage after the gift I was given in my surgery. I hate pain and don’t want to go through that again. I know that I need to always stick to the rules because no matter how well things are going a bump in the road can and will happen.  But acting and treating it properly can be the difference in healthy and sick and sometimes life and death.  No food is worth dying for. No food is worth being in pain for. No food is worth a permanent problem.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

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Chris Powell answers my letter. Please help make my dream come true.

I’ve got to take a deep breath. I need to write this all down and honestly I’m so excited about everything that is happening right now that it’s hard to bring myself to stop and actually do that.

I posted on my Facebook account on January 3rd, “You know that old saying go big or go home? I’m actually scared of something I got brave and decided to do, Details to come soon.”

That was 5 days ago. And since then things just started falling into place for me. Originally my post was because I had decided to enter the Flab to Fabulous Pageant, and there was that little voice in me at first that said “Why would YOU enter a Pageant.” Then I reminded myself to keep up with my daily affirmations resolution and I looked myself in the mirror and I told myself “Because you are Fabulous and you were a Flabtastic ( I know that is not a word ) and you deserve to showcase your weight loss and tell the world about your accomplishments.”

FlabtoFabulousHonoreeNext I contacted the Pageant Director, Charlie Brown, to talk to her about the Pageant. During our conversation she offered me the slot as their 2012 Ms. Fabulous Honoree. The opportunity to be the Ms. Fabulous Face for the time leading up the pageant, and to be on stage with a crown and sash and crown the next Ms. Fabulous 2013. How could I turn that down? I get to be Ms. Fabulous 2012 and I get to help someone else become Ms. Fabulous 2013! This was originally the BIG NEWS that I was so excited to announce back on January 4th with I posted on Facebook “OH MY GAWD!!!!! Something AMAZING has happened for me. I can’t tell you yet, I want to so bad, but I can’t. But I’m working on getting all the right things to all the right people so that I CAN… Oh gosh this is big… remember when I said I was scared and that maybe I needed to remember go big or go home? Yeah, this is it, it’s coming…. 2013 I <3 you so far.

photo569The next thing I did was set out to find people who would be willing to represent OR in the Flab to Fabulous pageant but, I saw a possibility here, with cash prizes, I thought hey maybe I can find two people to compete on behalf of Oregon; I’ll sponsor their entry fees so it doesn’t cost them. I’ll help them with finding local sponsorship to get them to the Pageant if they make it to the Finals and I’ll ask them if they would be willing to donate their cash portion of the prize to one of my favorite charities the WLSFA! What a neat idea! So I found a Oregonian Bariatric Surgery patient that is willing to do JUST that. Steven Gray, who is my own personal Mentor and 8 year post op Gastric Bypass Patient, Steven, boasts a total weight loss of 265 lb. I cannot even begin to explain how proud I am to sponsor this contestant and send Oregon representation to the Flab to Fabulous Pageant!  The fact that he is willing to donate his prize money if he wins is amazing to me! The fact that he is willing to help me help a charity that I believe in as passionately as the WLSFA by trying to raise money for our PNW Chapter while getting a chance to experience something we never would have gotten the chance to experience before is absolutely FABULOUS!

But you know I couldn’t stop there. I mean I sponsored a local candidate as Mr. Fabulous. But there was someone else that I felt I needed to reach out too, someone else that I needed to repay a favor to. You see, there was a part of my WLS Journey that was very hard and dark for me when my Father passed away. And there was a woman whose voice shown through the dark and spoke to me during a time that I hardly had anything in me but to listen, to eat, and to work out. This woman’s voice through her writing and blog carried me through. If you have followed my blog you will know who I am talking about by now, my dear friend Waning Woman. So I called her, and I asked her to allow me to pay her entry fee and help her get sponsorship in any way I can to send her to the Finals if she makes it. I knew that this Flab to Fabulous Pageant was right up her ally, and I wanted to help make sure she got to participate. I am happy to Announce Waning Woman as my Ms. Fabulous sponsored contestant.

I am still looking for a local Oregon Female to Sponsor as well as a long distance Male Contestant; if you are interested in doing either, get in contact with me!

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So that done, I decided to write Chris Powell another letter. Many of you know I wrote Chris back in September and when he responded it was a monumental moment of my weight loss journey.  I talk about how Chris Powell is my hero all the time and how when he wrote me and told me that I was amazing and that he was proud of me, it really was the next best thing I could have had to hearing my Father say those same words to me. Since my Father passed away in just 9 months after my weight loss journey started he didn’t get to see me through. And so, I don’t know something in me just said, Hey, I think I will write Chris Powell and ask him if he would be at these events for me, because well, I would really like my Dad to be there and he can’t and Chris Powell would be the next best thing.

The next thing I knew I was getting a call from the local news station because one of my friends had tipped them off to my story, and by yesterday afternoon, my first time back in the gym after my reconstructive thigh lift, I was being interviewed by KOIN 6 News about my weight loss journey, about my trying to get the attention of Chris Powell, about the Flab to Fabulous Pageant, and about some of the Organizations I am most passionate about helping.  The segment is scheduled to air on Thursday during the 4 o’clock on KOIN 6 in the Portland, OR area. ( That is why I had a t-shirt on in that picture yesterday that said “Desperately Seeking Slender” )
chrispowell2I went to bed last night, without announcing anything that had happened, I needed some time to absorb everything that was going on. Then I woke up this morning and CHRIS POWELL WROTE ME BACK AGAIN.

I can’t even begin to explain to you the excitement here. I’ve written Chris Powell three times and he has written me back each and every time. I truly believe at this point that my dream of meeting Chris Powell might actually happen, and I honestly believe that there MIGHT be a chance that he’ll consider coming to these events that I asked him too.

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I chose to have Gastric Bypass because my Father came to me before he died and told me that he needed to know that I was going to live a Happy and Healthy life.

A Happy Healthy Life. Those were my Father’s exact words to me that day….

Today when I pulled up Chris Powell’s New Vemme Bod-e Weight Loss Management Products Page to look at the nutritional information on the Powell Protein drinks I saw a quote at the bottom of the page I had never seen from him before…

 

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I’m sorry but sometimes you just know something was meant to happen.

Please! I’m begging you! Go tell Chris Powell that WE all deserve to live a happy and healthy life! That we do not deserve to have the cover of People Magazine taking pot shots at us. We do not deserve to be ignored because we choose the tool that would help us make this journey. Al Rocker has paved the way for us without even realizing it, we are TALKING about weight loss surgery right now in the media and how it’s being viewed with an unfair bias. PLEASE let Chris Powell know that this community wants the POWELL PACKs support. By going to this page and commenting and ASKING them to get involved.

This community is growing by leaps and bounds each day.  220,000 Weight Loss Surgeries being performed each year. Let’s help continue to pave the way for others to help ensure that they do not face some of the WLS biased that we have faced, let’s help advocate and educate and utilize this chance to rise and asked for involvement from someone who could really help this community.  By going to this page and commenting and ASKING them to get involved.

“Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.” The OAC Event taught me this philosophy, put your stick with mine my friends, please; together we can make a difference.

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

This is #MyBariLife

BariLife has decided to send me back to Paris to represent the WLS Community as I attempt to find my love of running again.
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