A Week Full Of NSVs!


It’s been a week full of non-scale victories!

I am now able to sit on a wooden porch swing, with one of the individuals at the day program I work at, without fear that it’s going to break with both of us on there! No sounds of wood splitting when I sit down with him! 100+ lbs ago I wouldn’t have dared to even sit down on it by myself! Then on Thursday I had to buy some new work pants because my current ones (size 22) were getting really baggy. The new ones are in a size 18!!! That’s a big NSV for me, I used to wear a size 32! Later that night I kept thinking that that when I would go to get dressed on Friday morning that they won’t fit me even though they did in the dressing room. But they did and I wore them to work and was in a great mood all day because of it!

It’s a three day weekend for me and I am really enjoying the time off. I spent my Saturday night at the  Northeast Ohio WordPress 10th Anniversary Party and had a wonderful time!

Partying WLS style with my water!

Partying WLS style with my water!

Today I went out to my Goodwill stores with my husband and found a dress to wear for my upcoming birthday party. Tomorrow I will be working on a poster I am making for my 30th birthday/weight loss journey party. I am really looking forward to my party which is in two weeks on June 9 which also happens to be my actual birthday!

Two reminders, my next support chat is this Tuesday the 28th beginning at 7:00 pm (EST) at http://bariatric.oli.us and also remember to enter my contest before Friday the 31st at 5:00 pm (EST) at http://bariatricbeginnings.com/2013/05/24/the-bariatric-beginnings-hair-loss-fighting-kit-giveaway/

Daily Inspirational Quote: “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~Dalai Lama XIV

Please Vote For Me!


Oh my gosh what an afternoon! I was actually nominated for two things in the The 2013 Backstage Pass WLS AWARDS this afternoon, you can listen here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/divatauniaradio/2013/03/25/2013-wls-finalists–nominees-in-each-category. I’m so excited, no matter who wins I am just honored to have been nominated among some of the best out there. I was nominated for Outstanding Weight Loss Surgery Community Member under my real name Jessica Dickey and Most Inspiring Story (here’s my story:  http://bariatricbeginnings.com/2013/03/18/never-turn-back/) under the blog Bariatric Beginnings!!! Voting is happening now until this Friday 3/29/13 @ 6 pm EST. You may only cast your vote ONCE. IP addresses and time stamps are recorded to ensure fair voting. Also my awesome surgeon who I owe my life too is up, so please vote for him too, his name is Dr. John Zografakis. Vote here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1_b9ZI8iiMaT3eWyaqr_wziC027WrA80RWcp9HyJ4xf0/viewform#start=openform

If that wasn’t enough of an awesome afternoon, I got a call for a job interview tomorrow! It’s for a full time, year round job at the company my husband works for. For those you who know my job situation, I would in a school setting so it’s not year round and not 8 hour days. I’ve been looking for a full time job for about a year now, obviously stopping to do my surgery and recover. I just started looking again about two weeks ago. I hope the good luck continues!

Just a reminder that tomorrow is support chat night! Join both pre-op and post-op patients are a chat beginning at  8 pm. The chats are located at http://bariatric.oli.us/.  I will not be running tomorrow’s chat as I am going to a music concert, but my moderator Penny who is at every chat will be there and watching over the room for me!

And I leave you with a new side by side, enjoy!


Can’t wait to see what I look like when I hit my goal!

Daily Inspirational Quote: “If you have a past with which you feel dissatisfied, then forget it, now. Imagine a new story for your life and believe in it. Focus only on the moments when you achieved what you desired, and that strength will help you to get what you want.” ~Paulo Coelho



New Addition To The Blog


You’ll notice I didn’t blog last night but what you might not have noticed was that I added a new page to the blog, called Weight Loss Surgery Resources, click here to view it. If you have a resource such as a book, protein supplement, or vitamin supplement that you want  to add to the list? Please email me at bariatricbeginnings@gmail.com or comment on this post and I will add it to the list! There are also several other pages on this blog that you can check out other than my personal story such as dietary do’s and don’ts, tips for getting more protein in your diet, staying hydrated, and more information on the bi-weekly weight loss surgery support chats I hold. Links to all of those pages are at the top of the blog. Do you have any other ideas of pages that I could create to add to the blog? 

I have a favor to ask of my followers especially those of you who have followed me for a long time or find my story inspirational. The 2013 Backstage Pass WLS AWARDS are happening right now! You can nominate your favorites in the WLS community until tomorrow, Friday, March 22 @ 6:00 pm (EST)! I’m asking you that if you truly find my story inspirational that you might consider nominating me for that category. Click here for the nomination ballot. If you don’t know my story, click here. There are several other categories so make sure to nominate your favorite before tomorrow evening. The top three nominees will be announced on Monday, March 25 on The Backstage Pass Radio Program.

And make sure to mark your calendar for my next WLS support chat this upcoming Tuesday, March 26 beginning at 8:00 pm (EST). The chat room is located at http://bariatric.oli.us. Chat in real time with other weight loss surgery patients and if you are someone considering weight loss surgery you are always welcome. I will not be at this particular chat as I am going to a music concert that night, but my moderator Penny from Penny & Lyle’s Lifestyle Change will be running it for me! Chats are help on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month, so if you can make it this week, you can try again in two weeks. Click here for all the information regarding my weight loss surgery online support chat.

Daily Inspirational Quote: “The wishbone will never replace the backbone.” ~Will Henry

Life Is Good


Ahh, life is good. Everything is finally starting to fall into place or at least it feels that way. Thursday is one month post-op from my latest surgery, stay tuned for an update of weight loss and a new picture! I can’t believe how quickly it’s flown by. All the physical pain I was having is finally gone, it seemed like it was never going to go away but it finally did yesterday. I’ve been very active with the treadmill at the gym the past few days. Today was my day off from the gym as I had a meeting to attend to for my Medicaid provider job that I’m going to be doing. I also attended a in-person support group this evening at the hospital and ran my own on-line support chat this evening. Thursday is my follow up appointment and I also have my first counseling session since surgery. I will be going once a month which is a big change since I used to do once a week. I have not had an appointment since the week before my surgery but seem to be holding up fairly well, I have had a few bumpy days but I feel like that’s normal as I just had major surgery a month ago! I stopped up at the school I work at yesterday afternoon, everyone in the office was so excited to see me and the principal kept calling me skinny mini…I’m lucky to know her as she had the same surgery 4 1/2 years ago and has done awesome in my opinion, I’m ready to go back to work next week. Tuesday is my first day back as they don’t have school Monday though I do have to go to a CPR class Monday. I will be doing my provider job for a few hours at night on the evening, it’s only 10 minutes from my house and it’s a little extra money in my pocket, I hope to be able to start that in a few weeks. I am going with a different client than originally planned due to hours and location. Patrick and I are leaving for our little Valentine’s Day getaway on Thursday after my appointments and we are staying in Wheeling, WV until Saturday. On the way home Saturday we will come up through we his parents live and stop and visit them for a few hours, a day of relaxation at home on Sunday and the following week brings the first day of Patrick’s new job and my first day back on the job. I look forward for more pieces of our lives falling into place. New professional job ahead for me I hope, I can’t wait to start looking towards the end of the school year.


Slowly seeing this for myself

Daily Inspirational Quote: “The most important thing to remember is that true change happens slowly over time. When you first learn to play the piano, it’s not like you wake up the next morning to find that you’re suddenly a master pianist.” ~Bethany Butzer


WLS Support Chat Tonight!


I took a little hiatus from blogging last night, I had a really busy day and was exhausted by the evening. I had my pre-admission testing and some other appointments related to my upcoming bypass surgery. I can’t believe that it’s only 6 days away now. Time has really flown. Today was my first day back to work since winter break was over. I had to take yesterday off for all my appointments. It was really hard to go back after being off for two weeks and after Friday’s shift I am starting on medical leave for the next 4 weeks. Luckily my week is very uneventful, just work and on Friday I have another massage. The massages really help with my headaches. I decided to have a slightly longer massage than usual. My surgery is scheduled for 7:00 am Monday, I have to arrive at 5:30 am. I hope I can manage to sleep Sunday night, knowing me though I probably won’t. I don’t sleep well when something exciting is happening the next day. Though I am allowed to take my sleeping pill that night so maybe I will sleep.

Tonight is my next Weight Loss Surgery Online Support Chat. The chat starts at 8:00 pm (eastern standard time). The chat room is located at http://bariatric.oli.us/. It’s still growing, we’ve been averaging 10 people a chat, although we have 60 usernames registered on the site! I’m hoping that many of the people who have made usernames will stop by at a chat soon.


Daily Inspirational Quote: “We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.” ~C. JoyBell C.



I asked this question last night to some friends and I’ll ask you, the new year is right around the corner, what are your goals for the upcoming year? Did you met this year’s goals that you set for yourself? One of my goals for this year was to finish a 5K, I did do that, in fact I completed two 5Ks this past summer. Sure I had to walk some of it because I’m still a big girl but I did it and crossed the finish line both times. I’m very proud of that accomplishment! There are people my size that can barely walk. My goals for this year are to really rock the bypass surgery that I have been hoping for since before my sleeve. Now that I am medication free I feel like my body will lose the weight better, having been on 7 medications before I’m sure that didn’t help in me losing. I would also like to do another 5K this year but by running this entire thing this time, maybe even a 10K in the fall? I would also like to make more friends, friends that I can occasionally get together with. I have a friend that is close but I only see her a few times a year and she lives about an hour away. Another goal that I would like to accomplish is to secure a better job. As much as I enjoy my job with the children, it isn’t ideal. I am hoping after losing more weight that someone might be willing to give me a chance. I like I’ve said before until you’ve personally experienced weight discrimination in regards to a job, you don’t believe it actually exists. My ultimate goal for 2013? To be an unstoppable force.

You know what would make my week ? A snow day tomorrow. The snow is finally on it’s way, it’s December 20 and I’m in Ohio and it still hasn’t snowed yet! I’m so ready for my Christmas/winter break from work. I would love to start it a day earlier. I doubt that will actually happen, but I can wish can’t I?

It’s 25 days until surgery day! My countdown “item I’ve learned” for today ties in with my goals from this year and last. I’m learned that I can push myself to do anything. I completed two 5Ks this year. I am still a heavy person, but I’m lighter than I used to be. I decided to not let the extra weight get me down and completed those two events. I actually ran parts of it, sure I had to walk some of it, but many people my size can’t even walk. Without my sleeve surgery in 2010 I don’t believe I could have accomplished that.

Here is me back in August 2012 right before completing my second 5K of the year.

Here is me back in August 2012 right before completing my second 5K of the year.

Daily Inspirational Quote: “Life takes on meaning when you become motivated, set goals and charge after them in an unstoppable manner.” ~Les Brown

Remember our regularly scheduled 4th Tuesday of the month chat will not occur next week due to it being Christmas Day. We’ll be back on our regular schedule of every 2nd and 4th Tuesday at the beginning of the year.

See you on January 8 for our next support chat!


Off To A Great Start


Well I’m off to a great start. Yesterday was my first of three pre-surgery diet weigh-ins. I am excited to share with you that I am down 14 pounds since starting my Opti-Fast diet on December 1. It took me a few hours to not be shocked by it, I knew I had lost but I didn’t think I had lost that much. Everyone at the surgery center yesterday was very excited for me. When I did the diet for my sleeve I only lost 23 pounds over 8 weeks. This time I am only 2 weeks in and almost to that same point. My guess is I wasn’t very faithful on Opti-Fast back in 2010, but to be honest I don’t remember. I was in such a fog from all the (7) medications I was on that I don’t recall much of 2009 and 2010 at all and only about half of 2011. I can’t tell you if I cheated in 2010 because I flat out don’t remember.

I am so happy that I am off to a great start! My next weigh in is on Christmas Eve during my final appointment with the surgeon before the big day. It was originally scheduled to be on December 27 but I got a call this afternoon seeing if I could come a few days earlier. My last weigh in well be a week before surgery after my pre-admission testing at the hospital. I am so excited that I could burst!!! I highly doubt that I will sleep the night before surgery, heck I might not sleep that whole weekend because I am so happy!

Last night was my in-person Bariatric support group holiday party. It actually wasn’t hard to avoid the food and at no point did I feel tempted. My broccoli dip that I brought seemed to be a hit. I had several people come up to me to wish me well or to tell me that I am very inspirational to them. I also had someone during my on-line group I run the night before say something very similar, her words were very touching. She said she had been following my story since I spoke at my in-person group back in March. I don’t know how she was, she didn’t tell me her name, and I didn’t want to ask if that was something she wanted to keep private. In my on-line support chats most people use a nickname. I guess the fact that I have come so far and never given up is something special. I don’t see it that way, but others do and if I can be inspiring and help others than that makes me smile.

Tomorrow is 31 (or a month) days until my bypass surgery. I’ve decided that as I count down the days each day on here and on my blog that I will share something that I have learned or something that I am thankful for over these past 2 1/2 years since my gastric sleeve surgery in 2010. To me it’s the perfect way to countdown to a very exciting moment in my life. Watch for the first one tomorrow!

Daily Inspirational Quote: “Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that’s what makes you strong.” ~Sarah Dessen

What Lies Ahead: Eating


My first Opti-Fast weight check is tomorrow afternoon. I am also attending a support group holiday party. The dish I am bringing is a broccoli dip, click here for the recipe. Obviously I’m not eating anything at the party but I love to cook and make things. I made the dip last night and my husband tried it and said it was very good, so I hope others will like it. My husband has to work tomorrow until 7:30 in the evening and the party starts at 6 so my parents will be joining me.

Only 8 days of work left before my two week winter break (the plus side of working in a school!), then only 4 days of work left once I return from winter break before I go on medical leave for my surgery for a month. Only 12 work days and 33 days (as of tomorrow) until the big day. I am so ready for this! Those of you who have been following me the last few years through all my happy moments and struggles understand how exciting this is for me. :) I still am in shock sometimes that this is actually happening. I truly don’t think it will sink in until I wake up in the recovery and the surgery is done. Then the second half  of my journey really begins.


I had a few friends who were interested in what my diet would look like afterwards so I will share it here too. I’ve noticed that every surgery center is different, but this what I will be following. This is what my diet will look like after my January surgery. I followed this same diet for my gastric sleeve surgery that I had back in July 2010. From day 2 after surgery to first post-op visit (11 days out) in my case it will be a clear liquid diet so water, sugar free popsicles, sugar free jello, low-sodium broth, crystal light, sugar free kool-aid is allowed. At week 2 to week 4 after surgery it will be a full liquid diet which is the same clear liquids above plus low fat, strained cream soups, sugar free pudding, think cooked cereals, sugar free yogurt, low fat cottage cheese (mashed up) and high protein beverages. Then at week 4  until week 6, I can follow a pureed/blenderized diet and from week 6 to week 8 after surgery I can move to a soft food diet. Then at 8 weeks I am back to solid foods and will be following a high protein, low fat, sugar free diet.  I already have an arsenal full of bariatric friendly recipes, put if anyone has any favorites please feel free to share some with me!


Daily Inspirational Quote: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” ~Mae West



This Time Will Be The Right Time


Only 35 days until the big day, I am so excited! I feel very prepared for my bypass. It’s amazing how much having good mental health going into surgery helps. I was talking to my husband this afternoon and I really don’t recall much from before my surgery and at least a year after. I was in such a daze from so much medication for a misdiagnosed bipolar condition and I was also very depressed. This Wednesday is my first official pre-surgery diet (Opti-Fast) weigh in. It was suppose to be Friday but I will be doing it Wednesday since I will already be at the Bariatric Center for my counseling appointment. Why make two trips? Tomorrow night is my bi-weekly weight loss surgery support chat that I run, all pre-op and post-op Bariatric patients are welcome, even if you aren’t working towards surgery but it is something you are considering and what to talk to other patients you are also welcome. The chat starts at 8:00 pm (eastern standard time) and is located at http://bariatric.oli.us/.

Lately I have been going back at looking at some of my old blog post from this time last year. It’s interesting how much life and plans change. I had seemed to accept the fact that I was done losing a lot of weight and was focusing on just going on with a life, I actually had baby fever. Not that I still don’t possibly what children eventually, I have just realized that I need to do whatever what possible to lose the weight I need to. I didn’t really want bypass last year, I didn’t even think to look into it or consider it. Sometimes I want to kick myself because I could have done this last year, I had the same insurance last year and it was a covered benefit before, I kept thinking I could lose it all on my own. I did manage to make it to my lowest weigh after surgery (in the 340s) but as I started to do off all my medications my weight started to creep back up in a very short amount of time. So last July I finally decided to consider bypass. It had always been the plan to have bypass at a later date, it was suggested at my first ever consult in March 2010. But my surgeon didn’t want to push me and for that I appreciate that, I needed to come to that point myself. I needed to know deep inside that was what I wanted.

I am ready for all the gas pains, the hospital stay, and all the other aches and pains associated with weight loss surgery. I have walked that road before, but not with this mindset and determination. This time will be the right time.


Daily Inspirational Quote: “Never stop just because you feel defeated. The journey to the other side is attainable only after great suffering.” ~Santosh Kalwar

Extra Support For Your WLS Journey


Weight Loss Surgery Online Support Chat

An online bi-weekly support chat group for both pre-op and post-op weight loss surgery patients run by me! Chats occur on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month at 8:00 pm at http://bariatric.oli.us/



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

More Info At: www.bariatricbeginnings.com/weight-loss-surgery-online-support-chat/