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5 Years Post Op – Bariatric Edition

I spend a lot of time writing for the bariatric newbie. My newbies are seeking information. They are getting ready for the important pre-op diet. They are working through the post-op guidelines. They are on the rapid weight loss phase and there are seeing fluffy pink clouds in the sky. They are getting closer to their goal. It’s a happy, exciting phase.
 
What happens 5 years post-op? Where are all my experienced bariatric clients? What are their challenges and how do they differ when compared to the first year post-op?
 
I want to address my experienced sleevers today. Hands up if that is YOU!!
 
I have a lot of contact with clients who have had bariatric surgery and they are still on their journey because GUESS WHAT … The bariatric journey doesn’t just END. It changes. It gets more challenging. 
 
We need to work hard during the first year or two to instill new, healthy habits because it is exactly these habits that will take us to our goals and help us maintain those goals for a long time to come. 
 
Please remember that if we go back to the same unhealthy habits we had before surgery, we have a very big possibility of gaining back the weight which we lost during the first few years post-surgery. I see the struggles. I know the challenges. I try to teach my clients about the importance of using the sleeve as a tool and putting good habits into place NOW.
 
If you are 5 years post-op and maintaining – Here’s to YOU! You are my hero and you’ve worked very hard to remain in maintenance. I know just how hard you have worked. I know how you’ve incorporated exercise into your life. I know that you are making wise food decisions almost every day.
 
Hands up if you are 5 years post-op and have experienced a re-gain.
Guess what … it’s not “all lost”. Your tool is still intact and you can use it to lose the re-gain again but you will need to do things a bit differently this time. You will need to ditch all the processed and refined carbohydrates and sugar from your diet. You will need to drink plain water, black tea, or coffee and eliminate the artificial sweeteners from your diet.
 
Prioritize Protein/ Fill with Fat/ Reduce Carbs – this is the equation to get the ball rolling again. Eat until you are full and then stop eating. Don’t snack between meals. Get some activity throughout the day and make a sleep schedule.
 
Once we get back to “bad habits”, it’s really hard to break them but it’s not impossible. I have seen many of my clients have a re-gain and then grab a hold of it and get the weight off again. 
 
Regain occurs because we choose to eat the wrong food. Regain does not occur from eating chicken and broccoli. It comes from eating cookies, chips, and ice-cream. The sleeve doesn’t fail us. We fail our sleeves. We begin to “eat around” the sleeve and we start to graze. We find ways to trick our tool. We eat mashed potatoes before we eat steak. We eat the tortilla chips and dip before we eat our main course. We allow slider foods to stall our weight loss. 
 
To all my experienced sleevers out there – if you’ve had a regain, please understand that you CAN get the weight off again. It needs to start with some motivation and a plan. Your plan should include 3 small meals a day of protein with vegetables. You should stick to drinking plain water and you should incorporate some movement into your life. 
 
The sleeve doesn’t just stop working one day. It is with us for life. If you have stretched out your sleeve and you can eat large portions again, this didn’t happen overnight. This happened from constantly overeating day after day after day. You can look into revision surgery – like having the sleeve redone or having it converted to mini-gastric bypass surgery.
 
The one thing I don’t want you to do is to just “give up”. That is not a possibility. I want you to reach out to me for assistance. I have plans in place to help you get back to the place you need to be. Start by logging your food and activity. Be accountable. Don’t hide from your weight gain. Talk about it. Don’t feel like you have failed. You have just made some bad food decisions and it’s time to look them straight on and fix some things.
 
The key phrase here – LifeLong Journey! We are in this for the long-haul. 
 
I am encouraging you to continue down your path if you are at your goal weight and to stay vigilant with the daily food choices you make. If the number on the scale is bigger than you would like, attack it head-on! Don’t settle. 
 
Sheri Burke RHN specializing in bariatric nutrition.

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

For bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

Time for a “bariatric expert” multivitamin?  Here is a perfect way for bariatric patients to get it now on Amazon:  Bariatric Expert MultiVitamins.

Eat Like a Bariatric Expert with our Nutrition Plans.

Feel free to share your victories and struggles in our Facebook Group. I would love to connect with you.

 

 

Gastric Sleeve Plush Toy Keychain $11.99usd

Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd

 

10 Low Carb Savory Snacks – Bariatric Edition

I had a hard time narrowing it down to only 10 recipes. I have so many to share with you.
 
Who loves a snack? Who loves to have a snack instead of a full meal? I am guilty of this. My snacks turn into meals. Especially when I am busy working… I have a hard time breaking for a real sit down meal. I think for most of us we have a “grab and go” mentality and we sit down for a proper meal maybe one time a day. For most of us, this is at dinner time
 
What if we could take a snack and turn it into a healthy meal? Wouldn’t that make life a whole lot easier? 
 
Depending on where you are on your bariatric journey, it may be easier to just prepare a few snacks with the idea that they have the nutrients of a proper meal. Let’s call it a “full-sized snack”. This is one that replaces your regular meal and is more on the “snacky-side”. You can eat it sitting at your desk or in the break-room or sitting in your car. As long as it fills you up.
 
Post-bariatric surgery, you need to be using your tool. I know a lot of clients who never eat until they are full. I call this “eating around your sleeve”. What this turns into is full-on GRAZING and this is a bad habit to get into. The bariatric tool is meant to be filled until you are satisfied. I see a whole lot of bariatric clients walking around not feeling satisfied because they do not eat enough food for the stomach to signal the brain to say “stop, I am FULL”. The food needs to push against the stomach walls for the stomach to send the signal to the brain to “stop eating”.
 
If I am grazing all day long, I am never full. It looks like this – a protein shake for breakfast, some almonds in the car while on the way to work, some cheese cubes at my desk, some hummus and veggie sticks for an additional snack, a half low carb wrap that I packed for lunch, a coffee shortly after lunch, a protein bar for mid-afternoon, some cheese sticks, and olives while prepping dinner, a glass of wine while cooking dinner, a dinner of a small piece of fish and some pureed sweet potatoes, a chocolate avocado pudding as a snack, some berries and cottage cheese before bed ….. on and on and on and on it goes.
 
I teach my clients to eat/stop/ eat. NO GRAZING PLEASE. We can get into so much trouble if we are following the grazing patterns from above and so many of us are guilty of this. I find myself doing this all the time. Then I wonder why my weight loss stalls? It is stalling because I am overeating. It’s hard to calculate the amount I am eating because I never feel full. My hunger signal is out of whack when I have this eating pattern.
 
I aim now to eat my meal or a large snack. I stop eating and then drink fluids between meals. I don’t “snack” but when I eat I will eat enough to compensate for a meal. Instead of just a handful of nuts, I will have a handful of nuts, a half avocado, some cucumber slices and I will feel FULL. I won’t play around with the “just a bite here and there” any longer. It gets me into trouble.
 
 
They can turn into a full meal instead of just a snack. Don’t just eat the avocado, add some low carb veggies and a handful of nuts and you have a “full meal deal”. 
 
Here’s to the long days of summer still upon us!
Sheri Burke RHN specializing in bariatric nutrition.

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

For bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

Time for a “bariatric expert” multivitamin?  Here is a perfect way for bariatric patients to get it now on Amazon:  Bariatric Expert MultiVitamins.

Eat Like a Bariatric Expert with our Nutrition Plans.

Feel free to share your victories and struggles in our Facebook Group. I would love to connect with you.

 

 

Gastric Sleeve Plush Toy Keychain $11.99usd

Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd

 

Do The Hard Stuff – Bariatric Edition

I am pondering this question today. Why do we struggle post-surgery? Why do we get to a place where the weight loss stalls out? What is the missing link here? What insight do I have after working with bariatric clients for over a decade? What can I do or say to make their journey easier? 
 
Here is what I have come up with for you to help you along the way.
 
DO THE HARD STUFF.
 
What does that mean Sheri? Well, we are all good at some things and bad at others. 
 
Some of us have a perfect diet Monday to Friday and then we go NUTS on Saturday and Sunday.
 
Some of us are terrific at adding exercise to our lives but our diet is not on point.
 
Some of us are great at staying away from sugar but we sure love those crunchy chips, pretzels, and crackers.
 
Some of use have a perfect diet most of the time but the sugar-monster rears it’s ugly head at midnight.
 
Some of us eat a perfect breakfast but have the hardest time staying away from the drive-thru windows for dinner.
 
Some of us have a big glass of water in the morning but make a pit-stop at Starbucks for the Frappuccino at noon. 
 
 
None of us are perfect but why not try something different? We have made the brave decision of having bariatric surgery in Mexico. We have boarded that plane and made that trip across the border to try and change our lives for the better. Why do we sell ourselves short and just stop there? That for sure wasn’t an “easy” thing to do. 
 
In the beginning, the weight WILL and DOES come off. I see the most amazing results during that first year. But, there comes a time where we need to “pick up our game” if we want to see those last few pounds come off AND we need to really “pick up our game” if we want to maintain our weight loss.
 
It is not “one surgery and be done” with obesity for the rest of our lives. It is more like “have surgery to get started” and then DO THE HARD STUFF to make it a long-lasting lifelong decision to stay at our desired weight. Most of us are willing to get uncomfortable for a short period but we tend to go back to our “creature comforts”. 
 
If we lived a sedentary life before surgery, we need to make big changes during that first-year post-op to move into more active life.
 
If we had terrible eating habits before surgery, we need to learn how to eat properly post-surgery. We need to fill our pouch with food that will give us the nutrients we require to live a healthy life. If we go back to drive-thru windows and keep our pantries stocked with the goodies that got us into trouble in the first place, then we will go back to where we were before surgery.
 
THIS IS NOT EASY 
 
We are trying to change a lifetime of bad habits in a period of one to two years. Those eating habits are deeply ingrained. Our likes and dislikes are also deeply ingrained. 
 
Exercise is hard. Exercise “motivation” only takes us so far. We all get excited at the possibilities when we join a new gym or get a new bike or a new piece of equipment for our homes. But then what happens? The “excitement” or wave of motivation dies out pretty quickly. 
 
Some of us are night owls. We stay up until late at night watching TV and snacking. How hard is it to turn off the TV and put down the snacks? It’s HARD, really HARD. It is a habit that keeps us from reaching our goals. We wake up tired and lethargic yet when 10 pm rolls around, we are craving another hour of TV and a snack on top of it.
 
So, this is what I recommend – DO THE HARD STUFF. And, just keep doing the hard stuff until it becomes easier. That’s how we make real long-lasting change.
 
Let’s use the exercise analogy as an example. We are psyched to join that new gym and take that new yoga class. We show up, and it’s hard (really hard). But, we keep on going to that class for the first week and then into the second week. By the third week, our excitement is just not the same as it was the first two weeks but, we keep going. The fourth week approaches and it’s still hard but it’s now manageable. We understand the instructors’ cues and we have made some friends in the class and we can see how far our bodies have come and how much more flexible we are.
 
KEEP GOING 
 
This is a point where a lot (and I mean A LOT) of people lose their motivation. Sure, they know how good it is for them and how it makes them feel better but they miss a few classes and then those few classes turn into a few months and they are back to their sedentary lifestyle – and then the cycle starts all over again.
 
The only way to make a real change is to DO THE HARD STUFF and just rinse and repeat and get back to that class. Maybe switch the yoga class to a weight lifting class or a running class. Pick something and get back to it. How will we ever see how great we can be if we just give up before a month is up? 
 
Now take the yoga class analogy and this time use “diet” as an example. We have a “so so” diet. What if we choose to have a really good diet that is filled with protein, healthy fats, veggies, and fruits? What if we just keep going and stick to this healthy diet. What if we say “NO” to the drive-thru windows and “NO” to the late-night snacking? What if we turn the lights out and just go to sleep at 10m without the snack? 
 
Do you know what would happen? We would AMAZE ourselves with how great we would feel. Why do we give in and not do the hard stuff? I think that we all need to think about it and find our reasons to keep pushing forward. When we get to the top of our hill, do we just let go of all the resistance and cruise to the bottom? Nah, I think we need to up the resistance and look for a bigger hill to climb.
 
Let’s climb a bigger hill folks. Let’s take this to a whole other level of greatness. I am on your team and I have my hand gently resting on your back. We can do this.
 
Healthy Hugs, 
Sheri

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

For bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

Time for a “bariatric expert” multivitamin?  Here is a perfect way for bariatric patients to get it now on Amazon:  Bariatric Expert MultiVitamins.

Eat Like a Bariatric Expert with our Nutrition Plans.

Feel free to share your victories and struggles in our Facebook Group. I would love to connect with you.

 

 

Gastric Sleeve Plush Toy Keychain $11.99usd

Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd

 

Next Diet Trend J.E.R.F. – Bariatric Edition

I follow all the trends because I want to know what is being advertised as the newest, latest, and greatest diet fad out there. Here are some of the trends that have taken hold of our world over the past few years:
 
We’ve got …. 
Vegan
Paleo
Whole30
Keto
Carnivore …. Just to name a few…
 
I don’t think that we need to bash any of these dietary concepts. We are all biochemical individuals and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for us all. Some of us don’t want to eat meat (vegans) while others don’t want to eat anything besides meat (carnivore diet). Who’s to say that one is right and one is wrong?
 
AND … Do you know what irritates me? Why do “you” (not you but that person pointing their finger), care so darn much about how or what I eat? People get so caught up and passionate about their diet that they are willing to get aggressive with others who do not share their same concepts and opinions.
 
You Do You Boo.
 
What if it hurts my stomach to eat meat? Does that mean that I should just suck it up and eat meat anyways? Of course not. My body is telling me that it’s not so good for me and I would listen to those signs.
 
What if I drink milk and my stomach gets very sick? Should I just drink it anyway? Of course not. I may be lactose intolerant and that would mean that I need to stay away from most dairy products.
 
What if I have high blood sugars? That would mean that I should seriously consider staying away from the carbohydrates because those are the foods that will increase blood sugars and insulin levels BUT not EVERYBODY has issues with blood sugars.
 
We all need to do what is best for us. We need to listen to our bodies and we need to eat sensibly. 
 
Do you know what the new food fad is? I do and I am going to tell you. I like this new food fad.
 
J.E.R.F – Just Eat Real Food
 
So what does “real food” mean? Well has it been processed in a plant? Or does it come from a plant? 
 
Real food is the closest to nature that we can find. And you know what? Real food can be used in ANY of the diet treads. Watch this.
 
We can be PALEO and Eat Real Food.
We can be VEGAN and Eat Real Food.
We can be KETO and Eat Real Food.
We can be PLANT-BASED and Eat Real Food.
We can be CARNIVORE and Eat Real Food.
 
This new trend works with ALL the dietary trends out there.
 
So what is NOT real food? Anything that has been processed and packaged in a lab or factory or plant is not real food. 
 
Take a potato. That is real food. Now I take that potato and I cut it. I fry it. I add all sorts of chemicals to it. I package it and I sell it to you. That’s not a potato any longer. That is a portion of processed food.
 
Take almonds. Now grind those almonds to make some almond flour. So far, so good. Now to that flour, add all sorts of sugars and chocolate and flavorings emulsifiers, oils, etc. etc. Some may call it a “healthy granola bar” but I call it a packaged processed food. It is no longer healthy almonds or almond flour. It has been converted into something made in a food processing plant.
 
Let’s take Mac and Cheese in a box. Do you see Mac and cheese growing in the fields? Of course not. This is a portion of processed food.
 
What about donuts? Ever seen a donut tree? I rest my case.
 
What about cookies? If I make cookies at home with coconut flour, a dash of stevia, vanilla, egg, coconut oil, and a bit of cocoa, I don’t consider this a processed food. This is a dessert made out of whole foods. If I purchase this same concoction in the supermarket and the label lists a whole bunch of things which I don’t know what it is or where it comes from, then it is processed food. 
 
Food manufacturers need to add a lot of things to their products to make them “shelf-stable”. They also add things to their products for “mouth feel” and “taste”. We don’t want to be consuming these things.
 
If we stick to the foods which are close to nature, we will gain the biggest benefits. We need to stop feeding ourselves the pre-packaged foods which clearly state on the labels, “high in protein”, “high in fiber”, “low in carbohydrates”, etc. If they need to state things on the labels, then clearly we need to learn to flip the label over and dig in even deeper.
 
Let’s look at “mayonnaise made with avocado oil”. This always disappoints me. Do you know why the label states this? It’s because the mayonnaise company is trying to persuade me that they have a healthier option in mayo for me. The reason why mayo gets a “bad rap” is that one of the main ingredients is “canola oil”. Canola oil is one of the “baddies” when it comes to oils. It is highly inflammatory. Smart consumers have figured this out and are searching for healthier options. Go grab your mayo from your fridge, flip it over and see what the first ingredient is – it’s CANOLA OIL.
 
Now, the food giants have made this new(ish) mayo with avocado oil which is extremely good for us BUT they have still kept canola oil as the first ingredient. YUP, they’ve just taken their regular recipe and added a bit of avocado oil so that they can put on the front label “made with avocado oil”. They are not lying … it’s true BUT the canola is still there as the first ingredient. This irritates me.
 
It also irritates me when I purchase a “cauliflower pizza crust” and sure, it has some cauliflower in it BUT the carbohydrate count is not lower because they have 4 different flours in the crust which are not healthy at all. I feel lied to and I feel cheated and they sell it to me at 10 times the price of the regular pizza crust. I should have just flipped the label over and read the ingredients.
 
Let’s promise ourselves to be smarter consumers and 1/ buy more real food and 2/ learn to read those labels when we do buy something processed. 
 
I know that my clients try their best to make healthy decisions and I want to empower them to make the best decisions for their family and their health. Keep up the awesome work folks. You are worth it!!
 
Sheri Burke
Your RHN – Bariatric Nutritionist/ Surgery Coordinator

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

For bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

Time for a “bariatric expert” multivitamin?  Here is a perfect way for bariatric patients to get it now on Amazon:  Bariatric Expert MultiVitamins.

Eat Like a Bariatric Expert with our Nutrition Plans.

Feel free to share your victories and struggles in our Facebook Group. I would love to connect with you.

 

 

Gastric Sleeve Plush Toy Keychain $11.99usd

Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd

 

My Diet 1 year Post Op  Bariatric Edition

What exactly should my diet look like a year out?? 
 
I love this topic. It allows me to dig in deep and discuss nutrition and all the benefits of eating a diet of real food.
 
So you have made up your mind and you are about to start the pre-op diet. You have all the foods lined up and your bariatric vitamins are set up and ready to go. It’s a very exciting time and as you embark on the pre-op diet, you begin to think about what comes post-op?
 
I guide my clients through those first few weeks before surgery and then we dig in post-surgery over those first four to six weeks. I slowly add foods back to your diet. We build up slowly. We add back yogurt, cottage cheese, creamy vegetable soups, mashed avocado, mashed berries, refried beans, and peanut butter.
 
Next up we try an egg, some tuna, some salmon.
 
Moving up the scale we add some soft chicken, high-quality deli meats, a bit of cheese.
 
By week 4 I am probably giving you a “prescription” to eat some red meat, like a few bites of filet mignon.
 
From that stage, you are onto real foods only and I like to remove that protein shake that you have been drinking and replace it with “real food”. This is a build-up over a few weeks. There is no hurry and some of my clients move through this phase more quickly and some move through it more quickly.
 
What comes next? We’ve done the pre-op diet. We’ve had our surgery. We have moved through the post-op guidelines. What is the next stage?
 
I see the first six months to a year as a “trial stage”. We are trying new foods. Our new tummies like some of the foods and hate some of the foods. I ask you to try “said” food once again after a few weeks if your tummy doesn’t like it. 
 
Once we are at the 6-month post-op stage, we’ve pretty much-made peace with “SallySleeve”. She’s the new boss of us and she decides if we are eating something or leaving it alone. We know what Sally wants. We know what Sally likes. We have an understanding that if Sally eats too much, she will get angry and kick us in the butt. She’s a tough cookie and she knows what she likes.
 
At this 6 month stage, I find that a lot of my post-op clients are starting to add back a few of their favorite “old” foods. This gets a bit tricky. They have lost a good amount of weight and they are feeling so much better. Their labs have come back greatly improved. They have got their “groove” back… BUT they are still not at their “goal weight”. Adding these foods back STALL the scale and once they’ve experimented a bit with their “old habits”, they generally jump back on the wagon and get back to their bariatric lifestyle. This “experimental stage” lasts on average 6 weeks before they get fed up and fully understand that old habits breed old results.
 
Back on track, we go and the weight loss starts up again :). By year one post-op my clients are nearing the finish line. A lot of them have reached their goal weight but most of them are struggling with the few last lbs. It’s normal because as we get closer to our goal weight, the harder it is to lose weight. This is where the tough get even tougher and begin to log their foods and start that important walking program. They increase their fluid intake and eat a bit more protein each day.
 
So here we are one-year post-op. What should our diet look like? What kinds of foods should we be eating? How should we be feeding ourselves regularly? 
 
This is how our diet should look one-year post op….
 
 
We should be eating a diet of whole, live, fresh, natural, good quality food. We will still have a good restriction so over-eating will still be difficult. 
 
 What gets easier is eating “slider foods” so we are going to stay away from those.
 
  • We will be eating foods high in protein such as fish, chicken, turkey, seafood, meat, eggs.
  • We will be eating high-quality dairy products (NO low-fat products) such as cottage cheese, greek yogurt, milk
  • We will be eating small amounts of healthy fat like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, butter, cheese
  • We will be eating healthy carbohydrates like lots of low carb veggies and berries
 
 
So what does a healthy one-year post-op daily menu look like? How should I be eating? 
 
Here is a sample day for you to review…
 
  • Wake up and drink a cup of water followed by your tea or coffee (if you drink them).
  • Make sure to take your supplements!
  • Have Breakfast – one to two eggs with some spinach and a sprinkle of cheese
  • Make sure to drink water between breakfast and lunch
  • Lunch – Chicken salad / 3 ounces of chicken, one cup of greens and mixed veggies, salad dressing made with Greek yogurt, lime and cilantro – salt and pepper
  • Make sure to drink water between lunch and dinner
  • Dinner – a small piece of salmon with green beans topped with a pat of butter
  • Snack – a handful of almonds and a handful of strawberries.
  • Make sure to drink some more water in the early to late evening.

 

This is just a sample of the amount and kinds of foods you will be eating a year post-op. 
 
If you are at your goal weight and you don’t want to lose any more weight, I have some great options to get the scale STUCK so don’t be shy and reach out to me.
 
If you are following a one-year post-op eating plan like the one above and you are sleeping well and getting a walk in each day, the scale should still be moving approximately a half-pound to a pound each week.
 
Please remember that we are all biochemical individuals. We are not computers. We lose weight at a different rate and we gain weight at a different rate. We are constantly striving for a good and healthy diet and sometimes we are “rock stars” and other times are more difficult and we make poor food decisions. 
 
What I wanted to demonstrate is what a perfect post-op diet “should” look like one-year post-op. We are eating our way to good health by choosing foods wisely and keeping our blood sugars and insulin levels nice and low.
 
Here’s to you and your bariatric-groove!
Sheri – Your Bariatric Nutritionist RHN

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

For bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

Time for a “bariatric expert” multivitamin?  Here is a perfect way for bariatric patients to get it now on Amazon:  Bariatric Expert MultiVitamins.

Eat Like a Bariatric Expert with our Nutrition Plans.

Feel free to share your victories and struggles in our Facebook Group. I would love to connect with you.

 

 

Gastric Sleeve Plush Toy Keychain $11.99usd

Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd

 

Too Much Chicken? – Bariatric Edition

Bariatric Chicken Rut – How to stay motivated with chicken, chicken, and more chicken?
 
Are you sick of chicken? Do you get bored with eating the same things over and over again? When we eat how we are supposed to eat – with a diet of whole, live, fresh, natural, good quality food, it can at times seem like “all we eat is chicken and veg”. When this happens, it’s a slippery slope because we start to long for foods that are not considered “our best options” while actively trying to lose weight, maintain weight or maintain our healthy blood glucose levels and insulin levels.
 
 it triggers insulin to respond and to flood your body to grab a hold of that excess glucose and to get it into your cells where it needs to be. This creates rising and falling blood sugar and insulin. Up and down and up and down and hunger follows the same trajectory. 
 
This was just the super “easy to understand” science behind why we need to limit processed carbs and sugar. It was just meant as a simple reminder.
 
Back to chicken lol 
 
I teach my bariatric clients to PRIORITIZE PROTEIN. Chicken is a handy protein. It is one of those foods at the top of the list for most of my clients. How much chicken can one person eat? When I get into a “check rut”, I try to get into other protein options like beef, eggs, fish, seafood, greek yogurt, and cottage cheese. Still, chicken is going to be high up there on the list so let’s get our “chicken game on”!!
 
I am going to give you 10 amazing recipes that you can rotate through that are high in protein (chicken) and full of flavor and pizazz! I dare you to tell me that you are bored with chicken. What happens is that we get bored with how we prepare chicken. Chicken can take on the flavor of whatever we want it to so getting some new recipes with some big bold flavors and really up the ante and make chicken a fun food again.
 
Another idea is to swap out the chicken in these recipes for shrimp, salmon, seafood, or beef. You can mix and match. Trust me, the chicken version of these recipes are low carb, flavourful and delicious and you can make the recipes for your entire family.
 
If you do make one of my recipes, make sure to tag me on Facebook with a picture of your recipe or share it with our “closed support group”.
 
Download the 10 chicken recipes HERE
 
I hope you enjoy the plan and meals.
 
Healthy Hugs, 
Sheri
 

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

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Summer Intermittent Fasting Bariatric Edition

 
I have a gift for you. I am so excited to share this. I love simplicity in the summer months. The days are long and the weather is hot and nobody wants to be chained to a hot kitchen. Salads, smoothies, and quick recipes are where it’s at for me during these months.
 
Introducing my “Summer Intermittent Fasting Bariatric Program. This program includes a 7-day meal plan, itemized grocery list, recipes, recipe picture, and a prep guide. The focus is on simple meals that use summer produce. Each recipe takes less than 30 minutes to minimize the time in the kitchen and maximize time enjoying the great outdoors. 
 
I’ve designed this plan so that there are three small meals each day. Some of the meals are repeated for your convenience.
 
I’ve also included the nutritional breakdown in each meal. You can see how many calories/ carbs/ protein and fat are in each meal.
 
This bariatric intermittent program provides balanced nutrition without frequent meals and snacks. I’ve prepared it with the “tinier tummy” in mind. The recipes are for 1 person but you can easily double them or triple them. I personally make a bit more for my family and I am sure to have leftovers so I don’t need to be constantly cooking.
 
It doesn’t matter the hours you choose to do your intermittent fast. I personally eat from noon until 7 pm and the rest of the time I am fasting which means I am drinking water and tea.
 
If you choose to eat from 9 am until 5 pm, that’s fine. This is your personal preference and your personal plan. Do what works best for you and your lifestyle. 
 
The calories are between 750 and 950 each day. If you are hungry, add a bit more food – I’ve left you some space to do that.
 
If you don’t like a recipe, swap it out for another one. If you are not into “fish”, change the protein to chicken. Don’t get too caught up in the details and follow one of my main rules for all my clients, “don’t eat anything you don’t like” – and I mean that. I don’t like onions, so I don’t eat them. 
 
This plan I put together for you provides balanced nutrition without frequent meals and snacks. Calories are distributed between three meals per day, which are intended to be consumed within a restricted eating window of approximately 6 to 8 hours. 
 
Download the plan HERE! 
 
I hope you enjoy the plan and meals.
 
Healthy Hugs, 
Sheri
 

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

For bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

Time for a “bariatric expert” multivitamin?  Here is a perfect way for bariatric patients to get it now on Amazon:  Bariatric Expert MultiVitamins.

Eat Like a Bariatric Expert with our Nutrition Plans.

Feel free to share your victories and struggles in our Facebook Group. I would love to connect with you.

 

 

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Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd

 

Reinventing My Summer Salad – Bariatric Edition

Last week I talked about hamburgers and sabotage.   I hope you got the chance to read that blog and if you didn’t, here is the link for it https://international-patient-facilitators.com/hamburgers-and-sabotage-bariatric-edition
 
This week I am sort of staying along the same lines of how we can sabotage ourselves with the food choices we make. Each season has food landmines.  When I think about Summer and the gorgeous ways we eat and entertain while the weather is nice and the sun is shining bright, one main dish that comes to mind is the “Summer Salad”.
 
There are so many ways to incorporate fresh vegetables and fruit into our diets during the Summer months.  Remember, I am from Quebec, Canada so our summers are very short and very hot and humid.  We don’t want to be slaving away in the kitchen over a hot stove or oven.  We grill outdoors at least 4 times a week.  We cook up perfect sources of protein along with tons of veggies on the grill.  It’s mid-June and I am not at all tired of smelling the food on the grill.
 
Another typical Summer meal for me is a big salad.  Gosh, so many ways to make the perfect salad.  You’ve got your typical Greek Salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, feta cheese, and olives topped with olive oil and salt.  
 
You’ve got the Caprese Salad with fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese, topped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
 
You’ve got the Cobb Salad that is loaded with eggs, ham, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a creamy dressing.
 
So that is where I am going with this blog.  Salad dressing … and all the ways to reinvent it.
 
Why would we want to reinvent our salad dressing?  Well, this is where it can go “all wrong” very quickly.  We have a beautiful bowl full of fresh veg, fruit, and protein, and then we top it with some salad dressing we buy at our local grocery store. The picture on the front of the label shows onion, garlic, cilantro, and a few other perfect foods.  What the front label doesn’t show is canola oil or any of the sugars, artificial flavors, colors, emulsifiers, stabilizers, and the list goes on and on.
 
For today’s purpose, let’s just talk about canola oil.  It is almost ALWAYS the first ingredient in your salad dressing.  It doesn’t matter if your dressing says “made with avocado oil or olive oil”… the first ingredient will be canola oil and then further down the list you will find the avocado or olive oil added.  
 
What’s canola oil? Canola oil is a vegetable oil derived from the canola plant.  Canola oil is not a good source of nutrients and it can contain small amounts of trans fats that are harmful to your health.  Trans fats, something like you will find in canola oil,  is not good for you.  They are associated with heart disease, obesity, and even memory loss.
 
So if your salad dressing contains canola oil, what can you use as a replacement?  My favorites are avocado oil and olive oil.  I don’t use them often but other healthy oils include walnut oil and pumpkin seed oil.  
 
Some of my Summer salads will have healthy oils added but what about a creamy dressing? How can you replace your favorite ranch dressing or your favorite creamy dill?  I’ve been experimenting with different salad dressings this summer and I want to share some ideas with you.
 
This recipe contains no added oils and it is high in protein and super healthy for you!  It is also packed with flavor.
 
SHERI’S CREAMY CILANTRO OR DILL / LIME SALAD DRESSING
 
*I use my food processor and I add:
 
  • 3 tablespoons of high-quality greek yogurt, 
  • 1 freshly squeezed lime or lemon
  • Splash of vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro or dill
  • Lots of seasonings like salt and pepper
  • A tiny amount of stevia
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of water if you would like it thinner
 
*blend for a minute and serve immediately or store in a glass container in the fridge for a few days.
 
Sheri’s Creamy Dressing is high in protein and low in calories!  I am not an obsessive calorie counter but I don’t feel like consuming 400 calories in salad dressing (if ya know what I mean). 
 
How easy was that?  Yes, I know it would be easier to just pour some pre-made salad dressing onto my salad but I am trying to stay away from the canola oils and my other worry is the amount of dressing I like to use.  The serving size on the back label of the dressing says 1 tablespoon.  Hello, who eats 1 tablespoon of dressing?  I use more like 3 big tablespoons.  That’s adding a whopping amount of calories and canola oil to my salad.
 
If you are not into cilantro or dill, you can just make the greek yogurt base and add whatever flavors you like. You can use my recipe or reinvent it to your taste.  Another option is taking one tablespoon of your favorite pre-made salad dressing as a base and to that, you add the greek yogurt and additional seasonings.  
 
When I was younger, I didn’t eat so many salads.  I didn’t worry much about a bit of salad dressing.  Now that I am eating salads every day, the amount of dressing I eat is going to make a difference in my overall health.  This is why I’ve started taking my salad dressing seriously.  I am reinventing it and finding ways to introduce different flavors to my salads.  I feel better about using greek yogurt as a base and I’ve also experimented with using cottage cheese as a base.
 
Let me know if you decide to try my recipe for your summer salads.  Give it a try.  You may like it!
 
Here’s to you and your health!
Sheri

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

For bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

Time for a “bariatric expert” multivitamin?  Here is a perfect way for bariatric patients to get it now on Amazon:  Bariatric Expert MultiVitamins.

Eat Like a Bariatric Expert with our Nutrition Plans.

Feel free to share your victories and struggles in our Facebook Group. I would love to connect with you.

 

 

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Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd

 

Hamburgers and Sabotage – Bariatric Edition

Another week flies by. We are almost in full-blown summer and the grills have been fired up. We are starting to have people in our backyards even if we may be social distancing. Something got me thinking about the ways we sabotage ourselves and that “thing” was hamburgers! 
 
You know how it goes … the hamburgers are on the grill. They are smelling perfect. Oh, the delicious smells of Summer. The grill chef (your husband) asks if you want cheese on your burger. “Why of course I want cheese”, you say! “Would you like a slice of bacon on your burger”, he responds. “Yes, Yes, Yes, Please”, is your answer. Ketchup? “yes please”!
 
Notice how he never asked me if I want the bun because he knows that I won’t eat it. Heat a bun for me”, I say. That’s exactly how I have started to sabotage myself. 
 
I mean, how bad can the bun be? IT’S NOT, if you just eat the small bun one time and then move on. For me, just that small bun can put me on a downward spiral. Accepting the bun means that I am also going to grab a handful of chips to place beside my PERFECT burger. I am also going to take a spoonful of potato salad because if I am going to do carbs, I am going to do them RIGHT. 
 
If you eat just the tiny bun and that’s it, then ignore my little rant but if you are like me, and you allow the tiny bun to seriously side-rail you then you need to do what I am going to do,,, just cut it out and get real and stop asking for a tiny, heated bun and make yourself a chaffle bun, or buy yourself a bag of low carb buns to keep in the freezer or eat the darn burger without the bun OR use a bunch of lettuce to make the bun. 
 
Just cut it out if you are making the same errors that I’ve started making … nobody needed bariatric surgery because they ate one hamburger bun. Nobody needed bariatric surgery because they love to eat only protein with veggies. Look, one of the reasons why we gain tons of weight is because we don’t know how to do refined and processed carbs correctly and we just overdo it. 
 
How bad is the rice? BAD if you do the rice with the sweet Chinese chicken balls.
How bad is the bread? BAD if it sits on your plate beside the big plate of pasta covered in Alfredo sauce.
How bad can the hamburger bun be? BAD if it’s sitting on the plate with the chips or fries and potato salad.
 
Now, if you do a meal like this “once” and move back to protein and veg, then forget about this blog post BUT if it puts you on a downward spiral then let’s have a good look at what’s happening and just cut it out.
 
I’ve fallen into a bit of a “salad dressing trap” a few times over the last few weeks. I make a gorgeous salad. My plate looks amazing and you know what would go perfectly with that salad? Ranch dressing! Of course, we all have a gorgeous bottle of ranch dressing in our fridge, right? 
 
Who eats one tablespoon of ranch dressing? I don’t see any hands up. You know why? It’s because we eat a lot more than a tablespoon of ranch at a time. We eat more like 4 tablespoons of ranch minimum. All my hard work of trying to eat correctly has just been sabotaged by ranch dressing. Don’t believe me? Turn over the bottle of ranch and see what is in it. It is full of sugar and it is also full of canola oil. That’s the bad stuff that does really bad stuff inside your body.
 
There are tons of examples that I can give of what I do in my journey to wellness that sabotages me. I want you to try to identify yours and then take some steps to make things better. 
 
This week I am going to do a few things to help myself along the way. First up… ever hear of a chaffle? You probably have and it takes about two minutes to make two of them and they are the perfect replacement for the hamburger bun. Instead of having that burger with cheese and bacon and ketchup, I can do the following: skip the processed cheese on the burger because it is not real cheese and it’s loaded with junk. I can make a chaffle which is a small amount of mozzarella cheese and an egg. This chaffle-bun holds up perfectly against my juicy hamburger and I can add some sugar-free ketchup on top. I have just taken my burger to a new level. 
 
What about that ranch dressing? Well, I got in my kitchen last weekend and created a ranch dressing that tastes superb and is high in protein and healthy for me. I took my food processor and I added a couple of spoonfuls of cottage cheese. My Greek yogurt had gone bad so I needed to throw it out but the Greek yogurt would have been perfect also. To that base I added my favorite seasonings, a touch of stevia, a big squeeze of lime and I blended it up – it turned out AMAZING. I will do some more experimenting with some different salad dressings this week and I will share them with you. You can put them in a small container in the fridge and they stay good for about 5 days. I will add some avocado, cilantro, etc, and share them with you. 
 
So, I guess in closing today I want to say that I don’t want to vilify hamburger buns. I don’t want to vilify ranch dressing. I do want to look closely at my personal habits and see if I can find a way to healthify them. Remember, it’s not just the darn hamburger bun for me. It’s a spiral that happens and the bun turns into French fries and ice-cream and gimme gimme gimme all the carbs. Before I know it, I am watching Netflix and chowing down on gummy bears and not the healthy ones I make in my kitchen.
 
Why don’t you take a look at your habits and if you have something that is derailing you, and you don’t have a good replacement for it, reach out to me, and together we can find something that may work to replace “said” item for you.
 
Healthy Hugs Minus the Bun!

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

For bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

Time for a “bariatric expert” multivitamin?  Here is a perfect way for bariatric patients to get it now on Amazon:  Bariatric Expert MultiVitamins.

Eat Like a Bariatric Expert with our Nutrition Plans.

Feel free to share your victories and struggles in our Facebook Group. I would love to connect with you.

 

 

Gastric Sleeve Plush Toy Keychain $11.99usd

Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd

 

The Easy Way Out – Bariatric Edition

Did you see how I did that? How I titled this blog “The Easy Way Out”. What I forgot to post was the “?” at the end of that statement. It should have read “The Easy Way Out?”.
 
I might have a bit of a RANT today 🙂
 
I hear this often because I’ve been working with bariatric clients for 13 years now. I also see this statement on social media because for some reason my clients believe that others may think that they have decided to take “the easy way out”. So let’s just talk about this statement for a bit and why people think this.
 
Bill – “Did you see Bob? He lost sooooo much weight! He must have lost like over 100 pounds”.
 
Karen – “Ya, but he had the bariatric surgery so it doesn’t count. He took the easy way out”.
 
Hey Karen, you’ve got this all wrong.  
What Karen didn’t see (sorry to use the name Karen for all my Karen’s on my emailing list), is that Bob had to make the decision to take his health into his own hands. 
 
Bob was sick. He was taking 5 different medications for 5 different ailments. He had a continuous sore back. His feet were achy every day. He was depressed and suffered from high blood pressure, high blood sugars, high triglycerides, and COPD. 
 
Bob heard of a friend who went to Mexico and he lost weight and regained his health back. Bob was sick and tired of being sick and tired. He found out from his friend that there was a great place to go in Mexico and it cost a lot less and the results were nothing less than amazing.
 
Bob began his research. He spent months talking to different bariatric centers in Mexico. He spent months on forums researching. He gathered a ton of information.
 
He spoke with his bank and took out a small personal loan to pay for his surgery and the flights for himself and his wife. 
 
Bob was nervous but he was even more nervous about the condition of his health and he wanted to be around to see his kids graduate. His doctor had been telling him for years that he needed to lose weight. 
 
In the past, Bob tried EVERY DIET known to man-kind. He managed to lose 100 pounds on his own 5 years ago but the weight came right back on when he stopped going to the gym for two hours a day. Bob followed his wife’s weight watchers plan. He tried to stay away from fast food. He tried to eat the low carb way. He still kept gaining weight.
 
Bob was embarrassed about having to shop at “Big and Tall” stores. Shopping for clothes had become a chore.
 
Bob felt embarrassed at restaurants because the booths would squeeze his stomach and made him feel self-conscious. 
 
Bob felt that his employer looked at him differently and he feared for his job at times.
 
Bob was fed up with all the pill bottles and medications that he needed to take each day.
 
Bob made the decision that it was “his time” and that he was taking his health into his own hands and traveling to Mexico for his surgery. Bob booked his surgery, booked his flights, paid his deposit, and spoke with his bariatric nutritionist to get ready for his pre-op diet.
 
Bob followed the pre-op diet to a T. He lost the first 10 pounds and was already feeling better.
 
Bob boarded his flight and made his way to Mexico. He had his surgery and went through his recovery for 48 hours at the hospital. He had some painful gas pains post-op and his hand swelled up from the IV and all the medications but he passed his post-op testing with flying colors and made his way back across the border, boarded his flight, and made his way home.
 
He was excited about his new life and the possibilities of weight loss and getting off his meds.
 
Bob learned pretty quickly that he could no longer binge eat. He learned that if he ate too much or too quickly, he would experience pain and vomiting. He figured out that his new tummy didn’t like his old way of eating or any of his old bad habits.
 
Bob had to learn a whole new way to eat. He had to take his surgery seriously and the hard work of making lifestyle changes to maintain his weight loss. 
 
Bob started exercising again. He didn’t go all crazy and spend hours at the gym. He got into a more realistic way of exercising 4 times a week for 40 minutes at a time.
 
Eventually, it all paid off. He did his pre-op diet. He made the trip to Mexico. He paid for his surgery. He learned how to eat correctly. He started exercising again. He regained his health and got off his meds.
 
Sorry, Karen… which part of this was EASY? How did Bob take the “easy way out”? 
 
This is just such an unfair thing to say and an unfair way to think about bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery is a huge commitment and it is not “just have the surgery” and “be done”. 
 
Surgery is only the beginning because what comes AFTER the surgery is really hard work. Oh, and the surgery is also not so “easy”. Heck, it’s a surgery! It is the removal of 80% of your stomach. Hello. How is that considered “easy”?
 
Gas pains … have you ever had serious gas pains. It’s not fun. It’s also not fun having pre-op labs and post-op labs. It’s also not fun having a drain removed. Who thinks flying is fun? I hate flying. I do it because “I have to”…not because “it’s fun”.
 
I guess that bariatric patients will always have to deal with the “Karen’s” of the world. We will have to be criticized by our friends and family members behind our backs or even to our faces. What I want you to realize is that you did NOT take the easy way out. You took one road to wellness and this just happened to be the bariatric surgery road. Who cares how you got your health back. Always celebrate the fact that you decided to get healthy. It doesn’t matter which road you took to get to “healthy”. 
 
If you want to argue with others about bariatric surgery – go for it. I don’t argue about it anymore. 
 
I remember when I was in school studying nutrition. There was a class where we discussed bariatric surgery. My classmates were so against it. They had NO idea. They were not living in a body that was overweight. Some of them believed that a good “diet” would get my clients to lose weight and keep it off. Oh, how naive they sounded. Did they believe that my clients hadn’t tried a “diet” before? Did they think that a healthy diet was a new concept? Or that exercise was a new concept. I argued but soon realized that there was no convincing my healthy classmates of any pre-conceived notions they held in their heads.
 
Maybe it’s a bit like politics. 
 
I don’t try to change anybody’s mind anymore. I also don’t care what others think. I care that my clients get healthy and get back to living their life and feeling good about themselves. 
 
So guess what, if you’ve had bariatric surgery CONGRATULATIONS. I salute you for taking the important steps for getting healthy and also for all the work you have done and all the changes you have made to your existing lifestyle.
 
I know how hard you have worked!! (Who cares what Karen thinks lol)
 
Healthy Hugs xo
Sheri

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

For bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

Time for a “bariatric expert” multivitamin?  Here is a perfect way for bariatric patients to get it now on Amazon:  Bariatric Expert MultiVitamins.

Eat Like a Bariatric Expert with our Nutrition Plans.

Feel free to share your victories and struggles in our Facebook Group. I would love to connect with you.

 

 

Gastric Sleeve Plush Toy Keychain $11.99usd

Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd