The Problem of Obesity

Obesity is such a huge problem in our country, I thought I would share with you the personal point of view of someone who has struggled with weight most of his life, but found better health and self-esteem after a successful bariatric bypass surgery. If you or anyone you know struggles in vain with serious obesity, please comment on the blog and I am sure Dave will gladly help you along. I am sure you will find this guest blog most informative. Dave has lost over 130 pounds, but he has gone beyond the success of his surgery to become highly knowledgeable about the subject of bypass surgery. He is well known on the Internet and I am sure he will be happy to answer any questions you might have after reading his blog. Pleas enjoy Dave’s blog below.

The Prime Directive

Wellness ActivitiesFacing an obesity epidemic in the U.S. which has no historical precedent, more than 200,000 folks a year are turning to bariatric surgery to regain their health. Surgery is the single most effective treatment known to medical science for the treatment of obesity and more than 30 comorbidities associated with obesity including type 2 diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnea.

Bariatric surgeons are quick to point out that the surgery is just a tool. Long term success is dependent on what I call The Prime Directive – lifestyle changes. Without those changes, any weight loss option including surgery can be defeated. But I wonder how many of us have given serious thought to what “lifestyle changes” really means. What are the implications? How do we incorporate The Prime Directive into the many decisions that we will make as we travel the path toward achieving our goal? What criteria must be met that will ensure that the decisions we make are consistent with The Prime Directive?

• Sustainability – lifestyle changes are, by definition, long term. I cringe every time I hear someone say “I’m six months post-op and eating 400 to 500 calories a day.” It’s not sustainable. It’s not healthy. It’s not a lifestyle change. And it’s not necessary. It’s about control, not denial.

• Compatibility – Success is not synonymous with suffering. Five years of moderate exercise is much more valuable than five weeks of trying to be a hero. Most of us have the ability (and the temptation) to take diet or exercise to the extreme. Bad idea. If you hate doing that five mile walk, or following that 600 calorie a day diet or failing to participate in that holiday meal – you simply will not continue that in the long run. Life is supposed to be fun! We deserve to be happy. Successful lifestyle changes means giving yourself permission to enjoy a moderate exercise routine, to eat a healthy number of calories every day, and to celebrate a special occasion with family and friends. Mindless denial or pursuing a goal that is beyond your personal limits will fail – every time. Thoughtful restraint is always a success.

• Realistic expectations – At the heart of every lifestyle change is a realistic expectation. Again and again and again I see folks agonizing over their failure to lose “X” pounds every week, or going a week or two without losing any weight, or frustrated because they don’t see an immediate response to a change they have made in their diet or exercise. Unrealistic expectations are unquestionably a major source of stress. They may well be the single biggest contributing factor that causes some to fail. We’re all individuals and we’re all different. There are no absolutes. Do your part by following the protocol your doctor gives you and then allow your body to find its own way, in its own time. Expect there to be bumps in the road. And above all else remember that patience is not only a virtue, it’s a necessity.

There is no “one size fits all” answer to the question of how we go about identifying, and then incorporating, lifestyle changes. But if we remember that they must be sustainable, compatible with our strengths and capabilities, and based on realistic expectations, we have a solid foundation for the Prime Directive. You’re gonna love the new you!!

Dave C.
Guest Blogger

The author had roux-en-y gastric bypass surgery in October of 2011. Starting weight – 285 pounds. Thirteen months later – 155 pounds. Lowest weight since that time – 151 pounds. Highest weight since that time – 156 pounds. Type 2 diabetes – gone. Hypertension – gone. Sleep apnea – gone. Back and knee pain – gone. 90% of prescription medications – gone. Comments and questions are very much welcome and will, without exception, be answered.

Click here to view more blogs on wellness activities by Silvia Coggin and other guest bloggers on Connect with Sivlia on Google+.

Cooking and Spirituality

Cooking and Spirituality 450Cooking is a very spiritual thing for me; it stimulates the five senses: sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. Hearing, you might wonder. Yes, I love to listen to the sizzle bringing incredible aromas to the kitchen. Listen to it next time in the kitchen. It is quite stimulating. Cooking allows my creativity to flow, and then preparing a meal to be enjoyed by others brings me to a feeling of gratification and appreciation. Cooking is one of my wellness activities.

When I am in the kitchen, I am in the “now”. So much has been written about “The Now”, but what does it mean for me? The “now” for me is a state of joy, well being and loving who I am and what I do. When I am in the kitchen, I do not think about problems which have arisen during the day, people who might have hurt my feelings, and business issues which have to be attended to. I am here, I am in full harmony with what I do, and I am solely focused on preparing the best meal offering good nutrition, great flavors, pleasant texture, and appealing colors. It has to play its own symphony. Every step brings me closer to that goal, and I love every minute of it.

But what if something goes wrong and my preparation doesn’t come out as intended? I calmly look at it, try to envision alternate possibilities, and then transform it and move on. Nothing is important enough to take me from my state of wellbeing. My motto is: Do not worry, have confidence, and mostly, have fun! This motto is a cornerstone of spiritual coaching.

After my husband had a heart attack and was sick for a few years, cooking was a haven for me. I couldn’t have an intense social life, and when I wasn’t working, I was mostly home. He always enjoyed food and eating was always a peaceful and rejuvenating time for us. Then, on his birthday, I sent him to cooking school to help him out of his post coronary depression and he discovered that it was a time for letting go, making peace within, and enjoying it. And now we cook together.

So cooking is important in our lives and has made a big difference when the goings were tough and the valleys were deep.

Now things are on an even keel and we love our time in the kitchen. Cooking is a cheerful and a great “together” time, and we love it.

Was I always interested in cooking? In a way, I think so. My mother signed me up for cooking classes during my school years, but I wasn’t allowed to cook at home. I could only watch. My mother wasn’t interested in cooking but she prepared some very good dishes. I discovered my love for food as a young adult. My mother died when I was 17, and I moved to Belgium in my early twenties. Since then, I have involved myself more and more in culinary delights, enjoying food served to me by others and preparing meals for the two of us as well as for friends and family. It is always special, no matter what. It is my therapy and a fun part of my life.

By Silvia, a life and spiritual coach. Connect with Sivlia on Google+.

Let’s Celebrate Father’s Day

FathersDay Father’s Day was always something which I would have liked to be able to celebrate with that someone special. I grew up without a father and didn’t know my grandfathers. So Father’s Day was not celebrated in our family, but in my youth I always longed for this father figure in my life. Now I celebrate with my husband and make him feel appreciated as a father to his daughter and also to our little Yorkie Mignonne.

All of you who have a father or father figure in your life, or remember one fondly, are blessed and this is a great day to celebrate them for all the contributions they have made and are still making. We sometimes forget how many sacrifices have been made on our behalf, and Father’s Day is a great opportunity to acknowledge them.

Reading about Sonora Smart Dodd, who was influential in establishing the celebration of Father’s Day, and how her father raised six children by himself after the death of their mother, it reminded me of my grandfather, who I didn’t know, but who raised 12 children by himself after my grandmother died quite young. My mother was 10 years old then and in the middle of the 12 children. Yes, we should appreciate our fathers and they all deserve to be remembered and celebrated on Father’s Day.

I would like to invite you to make this day truly special for any father, grandfather, stepfather, father-in- law or father figure. And let’s not forget all the daddies of our little furry friends. Being recognized, appreciated and celebrated will make this day a true celebration of love and gratitude. I’ll celebrate my husband as a father, and I know that he will love it and treasure the acknowledgement.

Happy Father’s Day!

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Wildlife in Arizona


Visiting Tarantula

What a surprise finding this visitor in front of our casita door. I am not afraid of spiders but have to say that a tarantula is an impressive creature. In my opinion, outright scary! So I tried to invite him – or was it a her? – to move on but there was no response. It seemed to like it there and I saw in my imagination this big spider in the casita keeping me company when I was working. A terrifying thought indeed!

Believing in the right of all creatures to live, I had to find a way to get it to a different place, away from the casita door and the court yard. With a “regular spider”, I just carry them out, but this one needed a different approach. Just thinking that it could crawl on my arm made me shiver. The other consideration was that I didn’t want to hurt it.

So my husband Steve and I brought out a container, a magazine and some paper towels. We placed the container in front of the tarantula, touched its behind with the magazine and made sure that the gap between the house wall and the container were secured with the paper towels. You will not believe how fast they can move when they want to. It wasn’t very interested in going into the pot but had no other choice. We rapidly covered the container with the magazine and I carried this impressive creature to a more convenient place. When I let it go, it ran for good life and didn’t look back.

If you are interested in knowing more about these spiders, you’ll find some links below under “Did You Know”. They are not dangerous, just scary because of their size and appearance.

[tippy img=””]Tarantula Facts
More about Tarantulas

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Embracing Differences

Embracing_Differences_250Religion and spirituality are a controversial subject and even taboo for some. But for me, they were always intriguing and I have given them much thought and reflection since my younger years.

I was brought up by a religious and spiritual mother. She taught me about compassion, giving and altruism. What I wasn’t taught was how to love myself, which became a problem later in my life. It took intense inner work to overcome this hurdle and to feel that it was ok to love myself.

After my mother passed when I was 17, my life changed abruptly and I was surrounded by a religious family with no love for me. I started thinking deeply about how it is possible that one can be religious and at the same time insensitive and even cruel. I finally immersed myself into spirituality, touched on many different avenues and found answers to my questions. Religion is the brain and spirituality is the heart. One can choose to be both or only one. One is not better than the other. There are spiritually centered people in any religion, people who are filled with love. And there are religious people in philosophical movements who have opened their hearts. And then there are people in philosophic movements who think they are the only ones who hold the truth and you can also find them in religions. But as long as one is filled with love and doesn’t become fanatic and exclusive, one can become balanced and find peace and harmony in both places, and then one can love oneself and others.

Here is an excerpt from the Abraham Teachings:

“Every religion on the planet, and there are so many more than you are even aware of, has the potential of absolute thriving. But when you think that you must prove that you have the only one that is right—and you use your condemnation to push against the others—your condemnation separates you from your own connection that, before your condemnation, you were finding in your own religion.” By Abraham

Imagine a world in which we accept our differences, respect each other’s beliefs and show love and understanding to the people we touch. Utopia? Maybe, but if we truly love ourselves and love others, then why is it so difficult to accept people as they are – different, interesting, and so much more. Why look for conformity? Don’t these differences stimulate us, give birth to new dreams and allow us to grow? Have a sense of adventure and the next time you are tempted to tell someone how wrong they are, step back and tell yourself: not wrong, just different.

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