Telling my story

I was so honored when my surgeon Dr. H called me to ask if I would be interested to be a guest speaker at one of our monthly support group meetings. I was a little hesitant at first, but I agreed and was glad I was given the opportunity and 4 weeks to prepare.

I decided to put together a small slide presentation to help me during my speech.

Usually we have a gathering of about 20-50 people that are mostly Pre-ops and some post-ops, but at this meeting, we had the biggest turn out yet. There must have been a good 100+ people at this meeting. Boy was I nervous! I am ok in front of small crowds, up to 30, but I have never given a speech in front of this many people!

I was glad to have my husband there for support as well as many post op friends which made it a bit easier.

I started out a bit cautious and nervous, but by the time I was on my second or third slide I felt great and was zooming through the presentation. I saw people nodding agreeing, laughing and even saw some tears in some of my audiences eyes. I had people taking pictures of my slides and even saw someone recording. (which I would have loved a copy, but I haven’t been able to get my hands on yet).

I was lucky enough to get one picture of me with a slide, but that was it.

I am glad, I was able to share my experience with this many and if I was able to touch a few and give them hope it was all worth my while. Now on to the fun stuff….

Here a great photo of myself and my surgeon that literally saved my life! I owe him a great deal of gratitude for giving me the opportunity to get healthy and continue on for many many more years to come.

1 year post op vsg

I have my 1 year post op appointment scheduled for August 25th. Today I got my fasting labs done and I decided to go ahead and get my 1 year pictures done. Pictured with my youngest after one of his Varsity football games.

My weight this morning was 128.2lbs. BMI of 20.8 BF% of 21

neck: 13 inches

chest: 35 inches

upper arm: 10.5 inches

thigh: 19 inches

waist: 28 inches

hips: 32 inches

calf 13.5 inches

1 month post op vsg

1 month goes by faster than you think. I am already in stage 4 – soft foods

New weight today: 195.8lbs. This is a loss of 17.6lbs in 1 month. My BMI dropped from 35.5 on surgery day to 32.6. My average calories range around 500-600 with around 60g of protein per day. Steps are anywhere from the high 2000 to the low 9000.

Surgery Day

08-26-2015 the day of my Gastric sleeve surgery

213.4lbs this morning! 


Before going in, right after surgery, a thumbs up and my first meal

I spend the night and next day in the hospital before being released to go back home. I was so happy to get home and be able to sleep in my own bed. The first couple of days after surgery were trying to get all my liquids in.

Sometimes you take the little things for granted. Day 4 after surgery and I finally had my first bowel movement!

How my journey started

I have been overweight all my life and never felt comfortable. After many years of tried and failed diets, I finally found something that worked for me.  This is a before picture at my highest weight. 229lbs on a 5’5 frame, BMI 38.1 in June  2015 on our Puerto Rico Vacation.

At this time I had already begun my process with the Bariatric Clinic.

I had purchased a fitbit (as you can see I am wearing it on my wrist) and I started tracking what I ate and drank.

When I started my paperwork my weight was 226lbs and a BMI of 37.6.

The day I started my liquid diet I was weighing 220.8lbs. Dr. H only required me to be on the liquid diet for 8 days. Lucky me!

After 7 days on the liquid diet, and the day before surgery an all day CLEAR liquid diet I was weighing in at 214.4lbs. That was a loss of 6.4lbs in 1 week of liquid diet alone. I made sure to measure myself to have a starting point for my journey.



neck: 15.5 inches

chest: 48 inches

upper arm: 14.25 inches

waist: 46 inches

hips: 49.75 inches

thigh: 24 inches

calf: 16 inches

Butternut Bacon & Goat cheese Soup

UPDATE: I am so excited to say that my recipe made it into the Bariatric Foodies “Play with your food Contest” for 2016. Here is a copy for you to download: It also made it on the cover!!!


Bariatric Foodie play with my food recipe contest 2016 cookbook: Money saving Meals edition

Fall season brings Winter Squash.

There are so many different varieties like

  • Acorn Squash
  • Blue Hokkaido Pumpkin
  • Butternut Squash
  • Cheese Pumpkins
  • Hubbard Squash
  • Red Kuri Pumpkins
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Sugar Pie Pumpkins
  • Sweet Dumpling Squash
  • Turban Squash

Out of any of these the only squash I ever tried was the Spaghetti squash to make well, spaghetti instead of using the traditional noodles. So I decided on a whim, to just go out and buy a few different squash varieties and try out some recipes that I can find and make my own versions by subbing ingredients or herbs and other flavors.

So today in the test kitchen I am trying out the Butternut Squash.

Sound nice doesn’t it?

And soo tasty…

What makes everything better? Bacon and Goat cheese, so here is a version of Butternut squash roasted with garlic, onions and bell pepper and of course bacon.

Butternut Bacon & Goat cheese Soup

Butternut Bacon & Goat cheese Soup


  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 8 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive or organic canola oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups lower sodium chicken stock, or more depending on on thick you want your soup to be
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1-2 scoops unflavored protein powder (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Place butternut squash, onion, bell pepper and half of the bacon in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Add olive oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Gently toss to combine.
  3. Place into oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until butternut squash is tender.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the other half of the bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  5. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add butternut squash mixture and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in chicken stock and puree with an immersion blender or turn off the pot and let the mixture cool down then transfer to a regular blender and puree until smooth.
  6. Bring back to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add more chicken stock as needed until desired consistency is reached.
  7. If you want a higher protein count (for those of you that are in the pureed stages) add the protein to some water and mix well until smooth, then stir into the soup. That way it will still be nice and smooth and you do not end up with clumps of protein powder.
  8. Serve immediately, garnished with bacon, goat cheese.


This entire recipe makes about 6 normal non post op servings and about double that (12) for us post ops or even more if you are still under a year out. If you are trying to stay away from the bacon, go ahead and leave it out, or substitute turkey bacon for a lower fat content, but I am not too worried about the fat from the bacon, since I am not eating this everyday. Same goes for the goat cheese, you are more than happy to sub it, for a lower fat creamy cheese. Just know that your macros will be different from mine.

Stage 1 and 2 – Pre op Liquid diet and 2 week post op

Goals for the Pre op Liquid diet is to reduce the size of your liver, to make it easier for the surgeon during operation and to prepare you for the 2 week post op diet.

Your goals are to get adequate protein to help with healing after surgery and to build lean body mass. 60-70 grams of protein per day for women and about 70-80 grams for men.

* fluids – 48-64 oz per day initially after surgery. Increase to 64-96 oz per day after that

* start taking a Multivitamin (with iron for women)

* chewable calcium (citrate, since it is better absorbed by the body)

* Calories should be between 600-1000 calories per day in the post op stage

* Start keeping a food journal

Examples of acceptable sugar free full liquids include:

  • Low fat/ sugar free yogurt/ greek yogurt
  • Sugar free pops
  • Sugar free pudding/ jello
  • Decaf tea or coffee
  • Low fat strained soups (no chunks) with added protein powder
  • Crystal light/ sugar free drink mixes
  • low fat/sugar Protein drinks and mixes
  • Broth
  • Propel water/ G2 or Powerade Zero
  • low fat milk (mootopia is my favorite for those of you living in Texas, low fat, lactose free and 12g of protein per 8 oz serving)
  • in general I went by these rules (15g of protein or more per 8 oz serving, less than 5g of sugar, less than 5g of fat)

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Vertical sleeve gastrectomy

Vertical sleeve gastrectomy is surgery to help with weight loss. The surgeon removes a large portion of your stomach. The new, smaller stomach is about the size of a banana. It limits the amount of food you can eat by making you feel full after eating small amounts of food.

I am adding the stages after weightloss surgery that a patient usually adheres and goes through until healed. This may vary a little depending on YOUR surgeon and the program they follow.