Posts Tagged ‘Kaiser Permanente’

I’m so excited to let you know that when I got on the scale this morning, it showed that I’ve lost 50.2 lbs so far!  Here are some fast facts about this weight loss:

  • My highest weight of 315 was recorded in September 2012 at Jenny Craig.
  • I accomplished this weight loss while staying smoke free since August 2010.  This was my biggest hurdle, because I used to smoke when I was stressed, upset, angry, etc, and once I quit smoking, I replaced food with smoking, and turned to emotional eating.  It took a LONG time to work past this. This was the main reason it took me 2 years and 9 months to meet the weight loss requirement.
  • I developed plantar fasciitis in the fall of 2012, which hurt my progress because it really limited my workouts.
  • I lost 15 lbs while on Jenny Craig (from September – December 2012).  This was a very expensive 15 lbs, and while it set me on a losing path, I wish I hadn’t spent that much money.
  • It wasn’t until January 2013, when Tinkerbell and I really started supporting each other, that my weight loss really took off.
  • I’ve lost 35 lbs since January 2013, 12 lbs since surgery 2.5 weeks ago.
  • The eating plan that worked?  Following Kaiser’s pre-op plan.

After trying everything under the sun for two years and 4 months, I finally went back to where I began, following Kaiser’s pre-op weight loss plan.  I’m not into regrets, and I really do believe that everything happens for a reason.  So I was meant to follow a long and very challenging path to this weight loss.  Those many, many months of trying this and that, having so many weight loss stalls, losses, and gains led to incredible frustration, but they also showed me how strong I am. How determined I was.  How much I persevere in times of trial.  It taught me how STRONG I am.

But really, if I was advising someone else, I’d say to just follow the plan that Kaiser outlined.  1200 calories a day, high protein, good carbs.  Well balanced meals – protein, fruit, veggies, complex carbs.  3 meals a day, no snacks so that pre-op patients can get used to the lifestyle they’ll be living post-op, when grazing leads to weight gain.  I veered from the strict “3 meals a day” plan with the nutritionist’s blessing because of how early my day begins. I rearranged the 1200 calories so that I could include two snacks – one between breakfast and lunch and the second between lunch and dinner. Exercise 30 minutes, 6 days a week.  My own exercise averaged more like 4-5 days a week, 45-60 minute sessions.  But Kaiser’s overall point is to make exercise a daily part of life.

You guys know that I crave variety in my life, and especially in my workouts.  So I made a point throughout this journey to keep my exercise creative and fun.  I’ve done all sorts of activities to get my calorie burn in:

  • walking (most of the time with Sofi!)
  • elliptical machine (I adore this machine, because it’s easy on the joints, and makes me feel like I’m running on clouds)
  • recumbent bike (this was a godsend when I developed plantar fasciitis)
  • Zumba
  • On-Demand workouts – I love Jill Coleman’s kick boxing workouts
  • Yoga (Bikram is a fave, but I really enjoy the free classes at my local Lululemon, too)
  • Aqua aerobics
  • Swimming (all summer long!)
  • Hot Hula

I am excited to get back to the gym and to all of these activities.  Of course, some of them have to wait until I’ve recuperated a bit more.  I’m even more excited to get to the point where I can start working on some of the things on my Fitness Bucket List. Long after I’ve made my weight loss goals, fitness is going to be the thing that keeps me engaged.  It’s what will drive my strong competitive side.  I love seeing what I can do, and I know that fitness will bring me tons of NSVs for the rest of my life.   I may never become a marathoner (no desire), but I will become as fit and active as I can possibly be.

Another huge factor in my weight loss was logging what I was eating on MyFitnessPal. I have tried so many different online tools for tracking calories, and none of them can compare to MFP.  I love the sense of community and support that I find on there.  Many of my friends on MFP are also WLS patients, so they understand exactly where I’m coming from. I like the ability to see my friends’ food logs so that I can get good ideas for my own meals.  When I see friends logging exercise it spurs me on to get my steps in before the end of the day, too.  I can’t recommend the tool highly enough!  You can click here to friend me on MFP, just make sure to write a note and let me know how you found me.

When the scale doesn’t register a loss no matter how hard I’m working, the thing that keeps me sane is support.  My family and friends are tireless supporters, who put up with every calorie I count, every miniscule weight loss brag, every crying jag when I had a down turn. The support I get from writing this blog amazes me on a daily basis; I’ve made true friendships with people I’ve never even met in real life. Watching YouTube videos of other WLS people, as well as those who are losing weight without surgery, have inspired me immensely.  I even started making videos myself.   When I started to go to the WLS support group at Kaiser in January, it lit a spark in me that continues today. There’s nothing like the freedom of discussing all the changes we’re going through in a forum that feels comfortable and safe.  Even FB has given me support in the form of the Sassy Sleevers group I’m a member of.  I’ve learned lots of tips (like the GasX that saved me post-op), and I’ve been incredibly motivated by the successes shared in that group.

These first 50 pounds lost were incredibly challenging, but they led me to the steps that will take me all the way to my ultimate goal. And looking at them from the other side, I can say that each hard-earned pound was worth the effort.




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bilbl_mainLast night I went to a Kaiser WLS support group, and it was the best 2 hours I’ve spent on a Wednesday evening all year.  I walked out of the meeting completely inspired, totally pumped up, and willing myself to get to my “within 5 lbs” phone call by the next meeting (next month).

My other experience with the Kaiser WLS support group was the completely opposite of this one.  The only good thing about that meeting was that I met BeautyJunkie824 for the first time, and our friendship grew from there.  Most of the people in the meeting that time had been post-op for months, all of them having RNY.  The leader spent the meeting knitting and making less than useful comments.  It was so underwhelming that I never went back.

Until last night.  Tinkerbell and I had been chatting about how we’re really supposed to go to the support group meetings and that neither of us had gone to one.  So, we decided to go to this one last night, which was at a different location than the other one I’d gone to.  It had the same leader that I wasn’t impressed with, but this time the big difference was in the support group members.

There were about 10 people who were pre-op, 7 of whom, including me, where getting the VSG.  Two other members were 1-week post-op, and doing great.  The fact that both of them were feeling well enough to get out of the house and attend a meeting was really encouraging.  There were also a few “old timers” who’d had surgeries 1-2 years ago who were giving sage advice to a few people who’d reached plateaus or were experiencing other struggles.  And there were three others who were scheduled for surgeries within the next two weeks.  So exciting!  The combination of new and old really lent itself to lively discussions, advice, and inspiration.

One of the things that really helped me was hearing from a few people who had similar tales as I did.  Two of them had been within 5 pounds of their pre-op goal weight and then gained it all back and had to re-lose the weight, which they did, and were now post-op.  That motivated me more than anything else, because I know that story.  I’ve never been that close only to have it taken away, but I have been striving for this pre-op goal for longer than most.  But as one of the OGs said to me, “you’re on your own journey, going at your own pace.  You were meant to be at this place now so that you could learn more about yourself.”  And that’s exactly it!

Yes, I’ve been enrolled in this WLS program for 2 1/2 years, and it’s been frustrating and challenging.  But it’s also been a way to learn so much about myself and how I handle adversity, food issues, etc.  At one point last night Tinkerbell leaned over to me and said, “Bella, you were meant to be at this place right now so that we could go through this experience together.  To support each other, and to push each other to get to our goals.”  And she’s so right!

Both Tinkerbell and I are within about 10 lbs of calling for our “5 lbs left to go” notification.  At that point, I can call into the bariatric department and start the ball rolling with getting a surgery date.  I have 11 pounds to lose before I make that call, and I am feeling incredibly inspired to make that goal by February 20th, the date of the next support group meeting.

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This month I’m participating in 30 Days of Thanks (#30DaysofThanks) by writing a blog post about 30 things I’m thankful for. To join in, go to the link above. The best part is, you don’t need to have a blog or even be on social media to take part in the project; you just need to be thankful. I can’t wait to see how my life might change by spending the 30 days in November giving thanks for things in my life — every single day.

I am really thankful that I have amazing health coverage.  I’ve chosen Kaiser Permanente for years, and I love their approach to health care.  If you don’t live in an area where Kaiser is available, you may not have heard their fun ads on the radio or tv:

Kaiser is all about preventative medicine and treating the whole person.  They even have farmers’ markets at their campuses.

Today I visited the most amazing podiatrist who treated me for my plantar fasciitis.  He recommended that I continue the treatment that I’ve been following: stretches, ice therapy, supportive shoes, using insoles to support my heel, and using swimming and biking as my main exercise. But then he also said he wanted me to get a steroid shot in my heel to alleviate the pain for the next 6 weeks so that I could work on all of those things.  He also said that 95% of the people who follow all of the guidelines he suggests are cured within 6 months, which is promising.  Especially knowing that in 6 weeks when the steroid wears off I can get another shot to manage the pain.  After the podiatrist visit, I headed upstairs to get my free flu shot, which I get every year to ward off the nasty bugs those kids bring to class.

Today’s visit is just a small example.  I’m also really grateful that through Kaiser my entire weight loss surgery, including all pre-surgery appointments, the 2-day hospital visit, and all follow-up visits are completely covered.  Not even a co-pay.  100% covered! Which makes jumping through the hoops of losing the weight for the surgeon’s weight loss requirement worth it.

I feel so grateful to have such great health care with Kaiser Permanente, and I’m grateful that through President Obama’s plan every American will be able to have access to affordable health care.

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Wow, do I have a lot to tell you. So much so that I decided to make my life easier and make a YouTube video to get all of the information I learned today out. (And I only recorded a fraction of what I was told during the 2 1/2 hour meeting). The thing is, I’m verbose, as you know, and my videos are no exception. I ended up recording over 30 minutes worth of video, so I broke them down into 4 different sections so that YouTube would accept them. I also think I have different topics that I cover, so you can feel free to watch all or some of them, as you wish.

Overall, the meeting was really great. It was held by Dr. Larry Dennen of the Kaiser bariatric center that I’ll be attending for all of my appointments and surgery.  He was the nicest, funniest, most down-to-earth surgeon I think I’ll ever meet.  I really hope that he’s the one that will be doing my surgery, although my next appointment is with Dr. Eric Hahn.  (I’m sure he’s nice, too).

This first video goes over my overall reaction to the day, as well as outlining the Process that Kaiser will have me go through to get the surgery.


Step 1: Referral of Primary Care Physician (DONE!)
Step 2: Orientation (DONE!)
Step 3: Multi-Disciplinary Consult Appt. (Next!)
Step 4: Pre-Op Psychiatric Evaluation
Step 5: Pre-Op Appointment and Schedule Surgery
Step 6: Surgery!
Step 7: Follow-Up Appt. (2weeks, 6weeks, 12weeks, 6months, 1/year for life)


The second video goes into Kaiser’s Program Requirements, one of which is going to be CHALLENGING, and I’m going to need your support to be able to reach it.

Program Requirements:

  • Quit Smoking!
  • Avoid Pregnancy for 2 Years After Surgery
  • Regular Exercise Program (30-45 minutes, 3-4 times a week)
  • Attend a Support Group for Bariatric Surgery
  • Attain Pre-Op Weight Loss Goal
    • 5% – 10% of highest recorded total weight (15-30 lbs for me)
    • For an improved state of health
    • To remove fat from around the organs, especially the liver
    • Not about “qualifying”

“People who stay engaged with a program are 25% more successful in keeping the weight off and sustaining it long term.”


The third video is all about the Nutritional Plan that Kaiser wants me to follow in order to lose weight.  It’s eventually the way I’ll be eating for life, so it’s good to start practicing these principles now.  I didn’t mention in the video (although I mention EVERYTHING else) that they really stressed Protein first.  The nutritionist was so adamant about it that she said she wanted us to eat in stages: protein, then veggies, then starch.  I’m not sure I’ll do exactly that, because I like having a bite from each category, but the bottom line is, once the surgery hits, you get fuller fast, and you need to make sure you get your protein in first, so that point is well taken.

Pre-Op Meal Plan

1200 calories a day

  • 70-80 grams of protein
  • 130 grams of Carbs
  • 30 grams of fat
  • at least 64 oz of water (non-caffeinated fluid)

Broken down by meal, this means:

Breakfast: 2 protein, 1 fruit, 0-1 starch, 1 milk, 1 fat
Lunch: 2-3 protein, 2 veggie, 1 starch, 1 fruit, 1 fat
Dinner: 3 protein, 2 veggie, 1 starch, 1 milk, 1 fat

Not too difficult.  They offer several sample meal plans that look healthy, satisfying and very achievable.  Granted, in my “summer off” of counting and measuring I’ve been eating more than this everyday, but I really don’t think it will be too difficult for me to get used to this meal plan.

The thing that might be a bit tricky at first is the fact that they don’t want you to drink water with your meals.  After surgery, the water might help push the food down, making it easier to eat too much and negate the Lab Band.  So it’s good to get into this habit now.  I’m not allowed to drink anything 15 minutes before eating or 30 minutes after eating.  I always drink water (or coffee) along with my meals, so this is going to be tough!  But again, I’m going to need to be able to do it after the surgery, so I’d better get used to it, right?

I’m going to use the BodyBugg program to log my exercise (calories burned), my goal for which is 2700 calories burned per day.  I’m thinking I should probably go ahead and use the BB program to log my calories as well, so that it will be all in one system.  The last time I tried using it, it was very clunky, and had very few name brand foods that I was eating, which was annoying, because then I had to input them all by hand.  I suppose that’s how any online system is, though.  Once you take the time to put the food in, then it’s there and you won’t have to do it again.  Do any of you log your calories with the BB program?  What are your thoughts? The one thing I don’t like is that there isn’t an iPhone app (that I’ve found) for the BB, so I’ll need to log all of my calories in on the computer.  It’s not that big a deal, because I’m around a computer all day at work, and I obviously have a computer at home, too.  It would just be even that much more convenient if I could do it on the phone, too.  If I hate the BB program, I may use something like LoseIt or the equivalent, which does have an iPhone app.


Finally, the fourth video is all about the vitamin that I have to take now.  And I mean, I have to take a whole lotta vitamins!

I go into detail about each, but there are so many of them that I had to buy a pill organizer.  (No, I don’t feel geriatric, AT ALL).

I also wrap up about my thoughts, my excitement, and the fact that this Wednesday is going to be my first “official” at-home weigh in towards losing the 20 or so pounds (and more once I have the surgery).  Today when they weighed me I was at my highest recorded weight ever – 295.  Yikes!   But, there are a few caveats – I had on jeans (which I would never do if I were really weighing in, because they’re too heavy) and also I really had to pee.  I had just finished a large coffee and didn’t have time to get to the bathroom.  So, I think my weight is really lower than that, and since I’ll be weighing in at home for the majority of this while I’m trying to lose weight, I might as well start weighing on Wednesday, so you can look for that.

I’m really excited about the process continuing, but I’m also excited to get back to really being on a weight loss plan.  This summer has been nice in that I wasn’t obsessed at all with what I was eating since I wasn’t counting anything.  (I overindulged, but I never binged, which is saying something). I feel like now that I’ll be back to preparing my food at home and measuring everything, counting and tracking calories, working out and logging it with the BodyBugg, I’ll finally be back in the fight with all of you, and that will be nice.  I’ve definitely felt a bit like I’ve been on the outside looking in these past 2 months, and I’m definitely ready to get back in the ring.

See you all Tuesday, with an update on my eating.

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