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A Lesson in Distracted Eating for WLS Fitness Contest Winner

Guest Blog
By Dawn Brell 

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


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.


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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New Years Resolutions Goals Dreams and Wishes

It’s just a little after midnight and it’s New Year’s Eve, but it won’t be until this time tomorrow we are all celebrating.


This time last year Dec. 31, 2011 I was baking a Sugar Free Sacre Torte for my Austrian Jewish “Second Father” Tom as he is one of those babies that just had to ruin his Mother’s New Year’s Eve Party by deciding to be born. I was also spending my first Holiday Season without my own Father still present in the world and that was rough.

This time two years ago, Dec 31, 2010 I was celebrating my first “Healthy Christmas” I had just lost my first 100 lb. and I was really excited about all of the first’s i was experiencing. I was also as usual, frustrated and insecure with my weight loss and stressing out as I compared myself to everyone else and went all OCD on my numbers on New Years.

Scale-165bThis year Dec 31, 2012 finds me at 165 lb. ( I am 15 lb. away from my “Goal Weight” ) I am also 4 weeks post op my third set of reconstructive plastic surgeries this year and have a bit of swelling still on board. I now have the addition of Heather in my life. She moved in towards the beginning of the year to be here to help me after my surgeries and is staying of course. This had a lot of big positive life moments for me in it and I will be sure to talk about a lot of them in my A Year in Reflect post next week, but tonight is about where I want to be this time next year and what I am going to do to get there. Tonight is about my New Years Resolutions, Goals, Dreams, and Wishes. You see, I think you have to approach each New Year with realistic resolutions, attainable goals, big dreams and wishes that might come true. You might not meet them all or achieve them all, but each one has a special place in your chosen path and decision-making in the year to come.

I like to do things in 5s so I have 5 spots on each of my list:

First up: Resolutions: Things I plan to change in 2013

  • 1. Wake up each day with a Positive Affirmation.
  • 2. Say “I love you” to someone I love every day.
  • 3. Pay off more bills than I rack up.
  • 4. Spend more time with my chosen Family.
  • 5. Work on my Body Dimorphic Issues

Now my Goals: Things I would really like to achieve in 2013

  • 1. Become a Certified Personal Trainer
  • 2. Open my own business as a Personal Trainer
  • 3. Save $3000 towards a down payment on a house.
  • 4. Work on getting everyone in the household’s Dental Work started.
  • 5. Get a Walk from Obesity happening in Portland/Vancouver area.

My Fitness & Medical Goals for 2013

  • 1. Take my Vitamins on a regular basis.
  • 2. Run a 5k, 10k, and Half Marathon
  • 3. Work on improving my foot health and dental health
  • 4. Finish up the final touches of Plastic Surgery ( Things my Insurance wouldn’t cover & Touch Ups )
  • 5. Reach and maintain a Normal BMI weight range ( 112- 150 )

My Dreams for 2013 – They are big you know, like too big to really be attainable without a miracle.

  • 1. Get my own Weight Loss Show on Television.
  • 2. Help Fund someone else’s Bariatric Surgery or Skin Removal Surgery
  • 3. Visit Walk Disney World
  • 4. Work with Chris & Heidi Powell
  • 5. Buy a House

My Wishes for 2013 

  • 1. I wish my friends and family would try to work on being more positive.
  • 2. I wish nobody in my life smoked cigarettes.
  • 3. I wish was happy with a “Healthy Weight” and not chasing an “Ideal Weight”
  • 4. I wish I could get all the Bariatric Surgery Centers in OR to let me work with their patients on Post OP Fitness.
  • 5. I wish I could meet Chris Powell, P!nk, Ellen DeGeneres and NKOTB


We’ll see how many of these things I manage to do in 2013 this time next year. 🙂

Have you made you New Years Lists yet? Tell me what is on your lists, I’d love to hear!

Maybe if we have some of the same ones we can work on them together in some Desperately Seeking Slender Challenges or something 🙂


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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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