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Social Media and YOU – Silence Speaks Louder Than Words

Do you know what my biggest gripe about being a blogger in the WLS and Weight Loss community is? I’m a tell-it-like-it-is sort of girl, so I’m not afraid to come out and say this… I dislike the lack of support.

i_dislike_button_by_calisoldier805-d3yzvu1I’m not the only one; I talk to fellow bloggers often who say the same things. Who are disappointed by the responses that they get from within this community. I won’t call attention to people who don’t want to be named, but just as an example, last August at the OAC Convention one of my fellow bloggers received a large amount of products from one of the vendors to host a fan appreciation give away. I warned her not to be disappointed if she ran a contest and didn’t get very many entries for it. You know why? Because it had happened to me too many times. Sure enough it happened to her as well and she found it disheartening.

This is exactly why you don’t see me host fan appreciation giveaways. I hold contests to give away Half Marathon experiences because quite honestly, I don’t care if only one person enters, if that person has the desire to do something amazing in their post weight loss journey and I can help facilitate it, I won the contest myself; that’s just who I am and what I am about.

But let’s talk about a few things from a blogger perspective. As someone who strives to put information out there that helps motivate and inspire others in their weight loss journey, I have a few concepts to share with you.

images (1) “Sharing is Caring,” I’ve said this a lot. Just in case you don’t understand what I mean by that, that is my way of telling you that when your favorite bloggers, nonprofit organizations and companies post things on their blog or in social media venues like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and what not, what they are HOPING for is that you interact with them. Not only are they hoping that you will like or favorite what they do; they are hoping you will hit the share button, hit the retweet button, pass the message along and hoping you will comment. Do you know why? Because their success in these venues is dependent on how well they engage their audience. How well you respond to a post decides how much attention the social media platforms give it.

Focus on the Positive and Avoid the Drama. Have you ever noticed how if there is something people don’t like or disagree with, or someone else is kvetching about something they are upset about, it tends to get more likes and more comments than your average run of the mill status update? I see more shares of snarky eCard messages within the weight loss and WLS community than I do shares of things that we claim we care about. People are more inclined to share an eCard that says “I don’t care what you say,” than they are to share a message that says “Look at this amazing recipe for Mahogany Chicken Wings from Kosher Bariatric” – Why not keep it positive and share the stuff that people are putting out there to try to help the community rather get into a 60 comment long debate about someone else’s eating habits or exercise routine?

downloadReturn the FavorOk so let’s be straight up here, the bloggers aren’t all innocent in this either. There are certain bloggers you will see me promote on a semi regular basis. People like Nikki over at Bariatric Foodie, Shelly from The World According To Eggface, Joy from Kosher Bariatric, Kesha from Waning Woman — and there are other bloggers that you won’t see me promote at all. You know why? Because sharing is caring, and if I share for you and you don’t share for me, then I don’t have the desire to share for you constantly and feel like the affection is unreciprocated. This is just the truth. I got an email not too long ago from someone asking me to support and share the information for a fitness oriented event they were doing. I did so because that is the sort of thing I can get behind and support. But when I’m doing something and I ask for it to be shared they seem to miss it. That only happens once or twice before I notice and next time you ask me to promote something for you, I nod my head, roll my eyes and end up busy with other things. Sorry, true story folks. Nobody like being asked to do a favor by somebody that never does a favor back. I abandoned supporting organizations with causes that I actually believe in and feel passionate about for the same reason, just as I have stopped social media interactions with people for the same reason. Nobody likes to feel taken for granted or like a relationship they have built only goes one way; so return the favor and keep your friends and supporters just that; friends and supporters.

Practice Empathy rather than Apathy. The ability to mutually experience the thoughts, emotions and experiences of others goes far in this community. Just because we might not agree with what someone says, or even feel that way ourselves doesn’t mean we can’t understand it. It also doesn’t mean that our social network won’t benefit from it.  Just as an example, as a weight loss coach I believe that professionals need to have a starting point to discuss weight issues with you. While I believe that BMI is a grossly negative standard when it comes to setting the bar, I believe it one of the only realistic measurement points available right now for professionals to start with. I believe you need to look at that number alongside many others like body fat percentage, lean muscle mass calculations, bone density calculations… and often you need to look up at the person you are talking to and judge for yourself whether the numbers are an accurate assessment of their physical fitness. I also understand all sides of the equation. I empathize with the folks that hate BMI calculations and think they are a false representation when used as a standalone measure or who have come so far in their journey that they are angered by a number on a chart that says “You are still overweight.” – Trust me, I struggle with this myself.  I empathize with the professionals that say it’s one of the most accurate measurement tools we have without more financially feasible technology at our disposal. Guess what? You will see me share information on both sides of the debate. Why?  Because both sides of the debate offer relevant information to my social network.

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On the same note you might see me share information on an article about body image issues. Not because I have had the same experience (mine might have been vastly different) but because someone else might benefit from reading the information. And if someone else could benefit from it, I’ll share it.

So next time a blogger you follow holds a contest to give away a product that you use, enter the contest. Next time a blogger you read posts an article that has information pertinent to your social network or a nonprofit organization you support posts a link, share it. The next time someone posts something that you agree with or appreciate, leave a comment. Take the time to show you care and appreciate what they do. Take the time to be positive and proactive. Take the time to reciprocate the friendships you’ve built with the people who you’ve met in this community so that you stay friends. I encourage you to remember that when you take the time to do these things for others, they will take the time to do them for you, and in the end, we’ll have a much stronger, friendlier and more positive community.

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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.

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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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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