Personally I LOVE to-do lists. Seeing things in writing helps me focus on what's most important and what needs to be tackled first. It also helps me break down big, intimidating project into smaller manageable tasks. And it gets all those whirling thoughts out of my head so I stop stressing about 'em.
Something I've been thinking about for a while now ... and I might regret saying it out loud here because it's going to take a lot of work in the coming months, and saying it out loud makes it real .... I'd like to add a whole bunch of WLS resources, information and other important content to this blog. I want "Journey to a Healthier Me" to be packed with information. So prepared to be buried! (I promise to give it to you slowly and in digestible chunks.)
I have done a LOT of research in the past 3+ years. I never knew I had such a passion for learning new things and digging deep into topics of science and biology and nutrition. I've shared a lot here and on the forums but usually in small little nuggets to answer one small specific question instead of giving all the information I have on a single topic, I'd just scratch the surface so as not to overwhelm the question. But there's more, lots more... and it needs to be shared. In fact, I have this sense of obligation that I should share what I've learned for those coming behind me in this WLS journey. Others gave so much to me when I was first learning and I want to pay it forward for others too. This obligation I feel is not a bad thing ... but it is a sense that if I've connected all these dots in my head and have all these resources I've amassed, is it ethical to keep it all to myself? I feel like I've been given this gift of knowledge and it's helped me understand my body so much better... I want others to have that same understanding. This kind of knowledge is empowering in the face of the changes we'll encounter along the way and helping others feel that same sense of empowerment is important to me.
I have a truckload of resources that I access regularly and it's scattered all over Timbuktu. It sure would be nice to have it all in one spot - for my own sanity. So I'd like to build a place here that's filled with information we all need to know. I am not, by any means, the be all and end all expert ... but I want to share what I know and what I've learned. The more we know about how our bodies work, I believe the more successful we will be. You'll notice some of the post ideas below relate to this very thing - understanding how our body works - both pre-op and post-op and understanding why there's a difference since surgery. My goal over the next several months is to fill this blog with that truckload of information -- and to also let this blog become more of a dumping ground for the information and knowledge I have floating around inside my head so I don't have to hunt for links and reports every time I want to refer someone to it. But don't fret -- you'll still be subjected to my ramblings, whining, recipes and silliness along the way.
I thought maybe you'd like a preview of what's on the idea list for upcoming posts -- in no particular order:
- Digestive Enzymes -- I recently responded to a question on OH about what happens to our digestive enzymes after gastric bypass surgery. (Hint - they don't go away, they continue working.) It was a pretty good response with a bunch of links, but I want to flesh it out a bit and get these resources up here.
- Nutrition Labels -- What I look for on the label and what things we should (or shouldn't) be concerned about.
- Group Therapy -- An update on some things I've learned in my group therapy sessions. Maybe share some techniques that will help you too.
- Diet Pills after WLS -- (DONE) Just an opinion piece that's still forming in my head. Will probably be a lot of rambling thoughts, we'll see.
- So you want WLS? -- A guide for people who are thinking about WLS and what first steps they need to take. Not only how to research the surgery types, but what specific things need to be done with your doctor, insurance company, etc.
- Four Types of WLS -- (DONE) Understanding the four different types of weight loss surgery and a list of resources for doing more research on your own. RNY, DS, Band, Sleeve.
- Weight Regain -- What the medical experts say about regaining weight after WLS. What are the statistics and what usually leads to regain?
- Eating on the Run & Meal Planning -- (DONE) Obviously I'm pretty busy, right? I literally eat almost all of my meals "out" -- 5 of 6 meals are eaten outside my house. But I eat home cooked food, rarely hitting a restaurant or drive-thru window. I make healthy choices for meals and snacks - but it takes a system, planning and dedication. Being on the run all the time is not a good excuse for eating poorly. So I'll share some techniques I've adapted over the years on how to make it all work.
- Proof that WLS is Good -- I often hear of folks who can't get WLS because their employer has written an exclusion into their insurance policy. There are ways to fight this intelligently to convince your employer to make changes in the insurance policy during the next negotiation. I have resources I want to share about how to start this "fight" -- or discussion with your HR department.
- Support Group Meeting Topics -- (DONE) I've been leading a peer-based WLS support group for about 18 months now and I've accumulated a lot of material for meetings. I want to start building a series of posts about topics I've covered with my group along with downloadable files for the handout materials I've provided to my group. I so often hear of fellow WLR'ers who have horribly ineffective support groups and this might serve as a resource for other group leaders for ideas. (I'll build a new table of contents for this information, similar to the Recipe Index above.)
I know I have a bunch of really smart readers here. I mean... smarter-than-me type of readers and also folks who have had a different journey than me and have experienced different things along the way. I want to hear from you more! (Sorry, don't mean to beg for comments.) Most of the stuff I talk about here is one-sided... it only shows MY experiences. Yours will be different. I think we can all benefit from hearing what each other deals with and what strategies helped that someone else hasn't heard of before or thought to try. For instance when I talk about nutrition labels I'm going to give you MY perspective - it's not the only way though and I'd love to hear what YOU look for on labels first, second, third. So get ready. I'm going to ask for your opinions a lot more in the future. I know who you are. I might even signal you out if you don't pipe up on your own. You've been warned. LOL!
Ok, so that covers the content items that have been milling around in my head (it always feels good to write those whirling thoughts down so they become a plan instead of just whirling thoughts). I've also got some housekeeping stuff around here that needs my attention. Not house-housekeeping... I'm talking blog-housekeeping. A few weeks ago when I redesigned my blog I neglected a couple important tasks. But also now that it's so pretty around here, I want to do more cool stuff. So here's a few things on the plan:
- Tell you About the New Stuff -- (done) This one will be coming very soon (in the next day or two). There are some new things around here you might not have noticed and I'll be giving you the grand tour.
- Reformatting Posts -- (done) I've discovered a couple old posts that were formatted with white text... UhOh! not good with a white background I have not. So need to dig through the old stuff and make sure everything is readable. (If you find one of these "white" posts, send me a message so I can get that one done. In the meantime, to read that information, you'll need to highlight the page with your mouse-- where you "think" the text should be. That will make the text visit while it's highlighted.)
- Blogroll -- (done) Still need to rebuild my blogroll. It got lost in the redesign - but needed major updating anyway. There's a placeholder for it at the bottom of the page (scroll all the way down), but when I'm done with the whole list, I suspect it's going to need a bigger spot. There are some amazing websites out there that I read regularly and I want to share them with you.
- File Hosting -- (DONE) Right now I'm using Scribd to host files I want you to be able to download. I don't like that you have to register with the site to grab the file. It's a great site and has lots of cool stuff from people all over the world... but I want a solution that's more user friendly. Which means files will be hosted on my website and linked from there -- just that it'll take some time to transfer stuff and get new stuff uploaded. Visit my website Resource Page for other downloads.
- Updating Files -- A few of my downloadable files need updating with new information. The Protein Book has a new rendition -- this is always changing as I learn new stuff (which is often). And the multi-vitamin comparison spreadsheet needs updating because there's some new products on the market and some I didn't know about when I created the spreadsheet.
- Recipes -- As I was writing the post last night about Freezer Meals, I realized that I don't have recipes up for all the stuff I eat regularly. Like that beef stew I mentioned pulling out of the freezer - I thought it was posted here, but apparently it's not, so I couldn't link you to the recipe. And now that I've got the Recipe Index, it's a great motivator to fill it up with new goodies!
- Make Stuff Prettier -- This coming semester I'm learning another program in the Creative Suite 4 family - InDesign - which is more about document layout and desktop publishing. I'd like to use what I learn to re-do several of my files to make them more consistent in look and feel and easier for me to update as I add new info. For instance, The RNY Rules - those articles were converted from various blog posts from the past years and I'd like to redesign them to make them look more like magazine articles with graphics and such. And the Protein Book - oh my - managing a 160-page document in MS Word is a very bad idea, it needs serious help (and it needs a new title, so I'm taking suggestions on that). I wonder if my professor would let me use these re-designs as projects for class?
- Checking Links -- Older posts have links to older data that need to be updated with newer links. (Like the Preparing for Surgery post has links to my old protein samples list that's on my OH Profile, but not everyone has access to OH, so that's a dead link to some people.)
Wow! That list is much longer than I realized. I think I should be scared! Looks like I have a lot of work lined up for me in the next several weeks and months. If you've got other things you'd like to learn about or want me to ramble on about (you know I'm good at rambling), just let me know and I"ll add it to the list. I'll come back here and check off things as I get them done - it's going to take a while, but as least I've put it out here, which means I can't get out of it now!