I'm Lori. I've been a Registered Nurse for 17 years, a certified bariatric nurse and have a certification as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. I have a passion for learning about holistic health and nutrition with a focus for bariatric patients. When I'm not working my day job, researching and reading about bariatric medicine, nutrition and health you can find me in the kitchen cooking and baking with foods that help me to stay healthy and maintain my 155 pound weight loss. I started out as an overweight child and eventually dieted myself up to a 300'ish pound, morbidly obese adult with a growing list of health problems. I was constantly on some sort of "diet", obsessively counting, weighing and restricting calories and food from as early as 10 years old. But I just got heavier over time, and I found that all I had really done was diet myself into a depressed, unhealthy and defeated state of body and mind.
In September of 2005, I made a life changing decision to have (RNY) gastric bypass surgery. Nothing could have prepared me for what I would have to endure. The first four-five years following surgery just about did me in. Unrelenting nausea and vomiting, severe abdominal pain, recurrent, perforating ulcers and blood sugar problems are only a few of the complications that followed surgery. I've required five additional surgeries for various complications plus ten additional procedures and countless doctor visits with the most recent being in 2014 when I was one failed stricture dilation away from having to have my entire stomach removed, this is called a total gastrectomy. Yes, I lost 155 pounds, but for years after the bypass I still felt awful.
I had more and more trouble tolerating foods and maintaining my weight loss, from the typically prescribed, 1200 calorie bariatric diet which I found to be non-filling, nutritionally deficient and did nothing but cause more sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings. When you are limited to just 1200 calories, you need to make every one nutritious if you hope to heal and support your body through this journey. When my doctors ran out of explanations for my continuing symptoms, I began my own nutritional research looking for answers. I looked more closely at the foods I was eating and began to make associations between particular foods and how they would make me feel to identify trouble makers. The first dietary modification I tried was simply reducing my intake of wheat/gluten and certain dairy products. For the past three-four years, I've been following a mostly gluten-free, less processed, whole foods template, and I have seen great improvements in my health, energy, mood and well-being that the 1200 calorie/bariatric/standard american diet (SAD) couldn't help me achieve.
Why am I writing this blog? When I had gastric bypass surgery, there were no online resources, support groups or reliable blogs available to even remotely prepare me for what was to come. Weight loss success statistics for bariatric patients are dismal! But I want to help you to be successful in achieving your weight loss goals, be successful in the maintenance phase of your journey and perhaps most importantly, in improving your overall health through a healthy and nourishing way of eating. I have had to experiment with and radically adapt my dietary habits to learn what works and doesn't work for me on a day-to-day and meal by meal basis over a long stretch of time that still to this day is something I have do do! But through this process I have found it much easier to maintain my weight loss and to continue to improve my health in nutritious, tasty, exciting ways. I want to share my experience with you and in so doing maybe spare you some of the difficulties I've encountered through my 12 years. Food is still my life and love, but it is now a much healthier, respected and understood relationship! I've learned (the hardest way) that the right foods can actually work for me, and that lesson has opened a door for me to explore a new kind of freedom. I look forward to sharing my victories, struggles, and experiences to help you through out your bariatric nutrition, health and wellness journey!