Stay on track: surviving the busy holiday season with your healthy habits intact.
healthy habits, Hormone Health

Going into the holidays like….

Is anyone else scratching their head wondering how we got to November in the blink of an eye? This year has sailed by and while it isn’t quite over, I’m thinking about all the things I have done this year and all of the great things yet to come. Retiring from the day job being the biggest accomplishment, I’ve also had some big developments here at Off the Plate. Here’s just a few of them.

Hormone Health Class Complete!

I have been taking some advanced courses through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, including their Hormone Health and Gut Health classes. It was a lot to take on while wrapping up things in my government career, but that’s how I roll. Always learning. I completed the Hormone Health class a few weeks back and I’m not loaded with lots of information to help clients manage their hormone balance through nutrition and lifestyle modifications. Stress is a huge player on the hormone stage, so stress management and sleep hygiene go a long way for managing health over all.

I’ve also enrolled in a bariatric coaching program as well. I’m shifting my focus to work with more bariatric patients to provide guidance through all phases of weight loss surgery. I’ve found many patients do not have support of their programs other than post-surgical visits and monitoring for labs. Without making deliberate lifestyle changes, weight loss surgery only gets you so far. You have to change how you think, eat, move, and live your life. I’m developing a program that focused on mindset and other lifestyle factors that can impact both weight loss and weigh management after surgery. I’m excited to give back to this community, as I have learned so much through other patients sharing their stories. You can read about my new Reverse the Regain program to get more information. I am offering a special 3-month introductory program, so let me know if you’re interested in setting up a discovery call.

Healthy Habits Bootcamp Launch!

I know that finances can be a barrier to success for some weight loss surgery patients. Vitamins, protein, healthy food — all that stuff adds up. I wanted to be able to offer some free resources to help people stay on track, get back on track, or figure out where the actual track is! I launched a free Healthy Habits Bootcamp facebook group that is open to anyone, whether you’ve had weight loss surgery or not. The group is intended to provide accountability and tips for establishing healthy habits, community, and positivity through the next few months (and beyond). Come join the tribe and join in on the conversation.

If you haven’t downloaded my Healthy Habit Tracker yet, make sure you sign up for my mailing list and I’ll send you one free as well!

I look forward to interacting with you more as we navigate the holidays together and enter the next decade!

Bariatric Surgery

Completing the puzzle for bariatric patients

Adobe Spark (1)

When I was researching bariatric surgery for myself, I was initially given very little guidance from the referring doctor. Pinterest became my friend, and I discovered a few valuable resources, namely Reeger Cortell’s Weight Loss Surgery Podcast, which I recommend for anyone considering bariatric surgery and for post-surgery patients at any and every stage. I have links to a few other resources on my personal blog. I also joined a number of different Facebook “support” groups.

On these groups, you’d see questions like:

I’m six weeks out from surgery. When can I eat pizza again?

No joke. This is the one that I always cite as an example of a SMH moment. You’ve undergone major surgery, with many risks, and you’re thinking about pizza? I see people making taco shells out of cheese or pizza with wonton wrappers — basically continuing the same eating patterns that resulted in the need for surgery.

A few things about bariatric surgery: whether you choose a sleeve gastrectomy or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, the surgery is on your stomach, not your brain. Your sleeve or bypass is just a tool and part of the equation. And it’s a very powerful tool! To some degree, the weight loss will continue over the course of 12-18 months. Some people lose with easy, while some people have to follow the dietary guidelines to a T (that’s me — more on this later). And incorporate exercise immediately post surgery. Behavior change is key. And building healthy habits needs to happen before surgery.

Some bariatric programs have amazing support. Orientations, nutrition classes, guidelines for supplementation following surgery, meetings with psychologists and nutritionists, and active support groups. It’s obvious, however, from observing the conversations in these Facebook groups that people are not researching this surgery prior to permanently altering their bodies, nor do they receive proper pre-surgery education or post-surgery follow-up. This education and support is something I see as a gap in the bariatric surgery process.

I’m one of the most fortunate patients. Not only am I a rule-follower who thrives on structure and rules, but I also had a fantastic surgeon who provided excellent guidance both before and after surgery. She teaches the nutrition classes herself, and is far more knowledgeable about nutritional needs, malabsorption, quality of supplementation, adjusting for stubborn metabolisms, and other guidance following surgery. Her practice now has a private support group ( which I’ll add that I helped start up and function as an admin), and she is actively participating in the discussion.

As a health coach, I can help close that gap by coaching from experience. I am still working on reinforcing the positive lifestyle changes required for being an obesity ass-kicker. The most important thing I have learned is that everyone has their own unique journey. People lose weight at different rates, people have difference medical co-morbidities that may change how their bodies’ metabolism functions, and people react differently to certain foods. Guidelines are just that – guidelines. Everyone has a unique prescription for unlocking their optimal health, even bariatric patients. They just need to discover what that is. I still have more discovery to do in order to hit that sweet spot, but I am enjoying what I am learning from the process.

And the answer to the question “when can I eat pizza again?” — for me, it’s never. However, the exploration of more appropriate options is all part of the fun.