Bariatric surgery Feed

Hi! It's me! How long has it been?

To be completely honest, being a weight-loss blogger with 10 or so lingering pounds left probably isn't an interesting read or write, for that matter, but if you're as snoopy as I am, I'm sure there are people who read my blog and wonder "I wonder if she's gained weight?" Because I am that bitch, and you may be, too.


There hasn't been a lot going on since I last posted in January (!) to necessitate any blog updates. My weight has been pretty much the same since then. I s'pose you can call that maintenance, which is a good thing, albeit it's 15 pounds from where I ultimately want that to be, but like many of you, I've been hanging out at home WAAAAY more than I have the rest of my life, and after decades and decades and decades and decades (that's 4 decades) of being on some sort of "diet," NOT being on one is pretty damn nice.

Despite the Dalgona coffee, homemade bread and DVR binging, my clothes still fit. The size 10 Athleta jeans still zip up, but there's a 'lil bit of fluff around the waist that wasn't there in January. Still not enough to raise my size but, ugh. 

So back on the bandwagon!

I celebrated 48 hours without an oatmeal cookie, so hooray for me on that! I'm substituting more "real" foods like fruit, almonds, cheesesticks or yogurt instead of oatmeal cookies for my afternoon snacks. Since I still have a tiny tummy, it tends to fill up better and faster with "real" food instead of tortilla chips, cookies and other emptier carbs.

I can't seem to commit to one particular online/streaming/DVD workout "system" because I have the attention span of a gnat, but when I find an instructor I really like I tend to follow longer than a few days. Lately that's been Sarah Kusch, who I first discovered on Grokker. Last year I was searching for all things Sarah and I found a Prevention DVD set called The Toning Transformation and so far I really like it. The workouts are pretty short (20 minutes), which is something I can totally commit to before I start work in the afternoons. 

(There's a link for ya.)

As for the food, I signed up for Beachbody's 2B Mindset after buying her book You Can Drop It. The book is great, but watching the videos on Beachbody on Demand and being a member of the Facebook group is far more interactive. I love that her plan isn't a diet because I am DONE with those. Instead, it's more about having the right mindset to do the right things, which is planning, tracking, drinking more water and filling up on more vegetables. No foods are "good" or "bad" and you're not cutting out entire groups, which can be CRAZYMAKING. If you like eating carbs (and who doesn't?) you kinda "frontload" them during the day, for when you need them the most.

(Don't worry, I am not a Beachbody coach and I'm not tryin' to get you to sign up. I'm just a big fan.)

(Another link for ya.)

One drawback to working/shopping/working out at home is that no one gets to see your cute workout outfits (or any outfits, for that matter!). Anybody else plan their once-a-week grocery shopping outfits? It's like going to prom! Anywhoooo, here's one of my favorite pairs of workout leggings that I matched with my shoes and yoga mat recently.

View this post on Instagram

Submitted for your approval: Queen Matchy Matchy's workout gear.

A post shared by Gail Gedan Spencer (@ggspencer) on

And with that, I'm outta here -- until next time!

Hi, guys! Who's up for better habits?


When's the last time I blogged?

(Checks the blog ...)

Wow, May, huh?

Well, it's a new year, so no time like the present.

Have I gained all the weight back? 


Nope! Still rockin' the Athleta size 10 jeans. 


That last 5 pounds I want to lose to get to 100 has turned into 10 pounds. I still ended 2019 around 10 pounds lighter than when I started it.

I blame my (fairly) new job and its late nights. I tend to get off of work and wander into the kitchen, and a 2 a.m. half bagel and cream cheese had been my go-to snack. Or popcorn or some random cookie or other starchy, carby stuff. Or maybe all of them if I stay up too late.


I felt myself slipping into some undisciplined habits, so for the new year, I'm spending a chunk of change on a Noom membership. I tried it over the summer, but my head wasn't in the right place for it, and now it is. I already know what foods are beneficial for me and which ones do nothing but make me eat more starchy, carby crap. What I like about Noom is that it's largely a behavioral tool. I can get lazy about meal planning and make all kinds of excuses, and Noom works intensely on building good habits. 

As far as eating goes, the calories per day are good for me. It has me around 1,200, which may be too low for many people, but me and my tiny tum-tum are cool with that amount. It also categorizes food by caloric density into green, yellow, and red. "Green" foods are fruits, vegetables and whole grains. "Yellow" is lean meats and starches, and "Red" is the fun stuff -- fats, desserts, red meat and sugary stuff. Shortly after surgery I found it hard to get in a lot of produce, and to be honest, I got out of the habit of reaching for that first, so I'm loving the friendly shove into the produce department. Today for example, I made an omelet with one egg, a couple tablespoons of shredded cheese and a big handful of baby spinach. Normally I'd have something like a piece of toast or tortilla or bagel half with it, but instead I had half a pear. I've also started swapping bell pepper strips and Greek yogurt dip for my beloved bagel and cream cheese snack, and I can honestly say the creaminess of the yogurt has the same effect as the cream cheese.

Yes, food tracking is involved, but science shows that tracking your food leads to more weight-loss success. And it takes almost no time to point your phone at a barcode or do a simple search for the food.

If you're interested in trying Noom, you can use THIS LINK to get 20 percent off, which is a great deal, because I signed up with zero discount! 


Since I got this full-time job, my blogging and social media activity has taken a big hit -- not a bad thing, if you ask me! So here's the latest selfie-like picture I took, back in October. Other than my hair being a bit longer, I'm still this size, but some days lately I feel like I'm fueled by Christmas cookies -- not a good thing for a bariatric patient.

That said ...

      • No resolutions
      • No ultimatums
      • No detox
      • No paleo
      • No keto
      • No Whole 30
      • No WW
      • No restrictions

Just smarter choices. Oh, and perhaps a promise to update the blog every week or so. I sorta miss it.

And once again, if you wanna try Noom, here's a code to save some bucks:

And what else -- a whole bunch of inspirational graphics!





Is shooting for 100 pounds lost a shallow goal?

Keep_It_100Hey, I just started my new job this week and I have my "weekend" today and Thursday, so I get to play catch-up on a bunch of stuff -- one of which is this blog.

The few pounds that I gained over a few weeks came off really easily plus a couple more, which now leaves me just 5 pounds away from losing 100 pounds.

Do I need to lose 5 pounds? Not really. I'm comfortably into my size 10 Athleta and NYDJ jeans and wearing more mediums than larges in tops. 

But do I want to lose those 5 pounds and strut around saying "I lost 100 pounds?" 

What do you think?


To be clear, 165 pounds is still 16 pounds away from a so-called "healthy" BMI number. Apparently I need to be below 150 to fit that outdated standard, and not even my doctors and dietitian is pushing for that. (For more on BMI, click HERE at 

But for me? I think 165 will be just fine -- better than fine, really. I still want to build more muscle and probably shave off a little more fat and I saw that working out super regularly, like I did last week, goes a long way to achieving that goal.

This week, though? Eeek. I missed Monday and Tuesday because I was reminded that slogging back and forth through traffic and working a full day does not make one eager to workout as soon as they get home from work. So I'll play catch-up with that today and tomorrow, and also on the days that I'll be working evenings. It's a lot easier to workout before work, but I don't want to get up at 5 a.m. right now to do that because that won't be my regular schedule in a couple weeks.

Am I making excuses for not working out? Sure! But I don't need to make myself nutty anymore when it comes to working out, so it's all good. I'll get enough in while my schedule jumps around. I'll also make sure to take the stairs at work and take active breaks during the workday instead of sticking my nose in my phone in the break room.

So yeah, I'm gonna go for it.


Back from my weight-loss rumspringa!

(I had written a great blog post a couple weeks ago, but I forgot to hit "save" and the whole thing went ka-blooey and I got ticked off and didn't feel like rewriting it, so here we are today. Hiya!)

The Amish and Mennonite communities have a rite of passage called rumspringa, where some teenagers in the sects sow their oats for a bit before coming back into the fold (or not -- I've seen those TLC reality shows).

Anywhoozle, I kinda did that the past few weeks, but instead of oats I used popcorn. And really good granola, and basically anything that could fit in Tiny Tum-Tum.

I’ve been using the LoseIt app and WW, but the 6-month membership to WW had run out as did my interest. I was realizing that those magical zero-Point foods weren’t wielding their magic anymore, and I was just eating random hard-boiled eggs and tangerines because ZERO! Listen, food is food, and the plan is great and all, but I have a finite amount of real estate inside me (going from a McMansion to a studio) and I really can’t be eating food and not counting it.

I also discovered that carbing it up and not counting said carbs led to a gain of 3 pounds from March 17 to April 1. Not a huge gain, but a gain nonetheless, and I am not into backsliding.

So I’ve pared things down to the LoseIt app now and vowed to count everything I consume.

What else am I doing?

Better meal planning: None of this willy-nilly foraging in the kitchen stuff.

Tuna salad

Better meals: I can get pretty lazy with eating, depending on protein bars, protein shakes, protein tortilla chips, protein waffles -- you get the drift. Some of those things just don’t leave me satisfied, so I stocked up on cottage cheese, nonfat Greek yogurt, and tuna packets for “lazy” protein that is more satisfying and “food” like. (That's a Thai chili tuna packet and some chopped avocado over salad greens.)

Jillian body rev

An Active April: I had been half-assing my workouts and to fully-ass them, I made a pledge on Instagram to do something -- anything -- every day this month. I pulled out my copy of Jillian Michaels Body Revolution from 2012 and am committing to that for the month. So far so good. I’m three workouts in and really enjoying the half hour workouts.

So, lemme tell ya, it doesn’t take much to turn this ship around: Those 3 pounds I found on Monday are just about gone as of Wednesday. I don’t know if it’s because I’m smaller, or my metabolism is better or what, but I can turn things around pretty quickly now and it’s gratifying.

Gail 0419

I spent all of Wednesday wearing my Athleta size 10 petite jeans and I felt pretty darn bad-ass.

(I’m growing my hair out a bit from the big December chop and I feel a bit like that guy from “The IT Crowd.”)

Gailface 0419
Gailface 0419

OK, not quite, but growing out haircuts is the worst.

In other news…

I got a new job! I’ve been freelancing for the past decade and the hustle game has never been my thing, so starting Monday I’ll be on the alerts desk at CBS Sports Digital. I’m really psyched because I have always loved writing headlines and it’s sports! Everybody loves sports! So no hard news (I’ll leave that to the husband). I'll still continue doing stuff for Fit Bottomed Girls because I lurrve them and it's fun.

I’ve been sorting out my office wardrobe, since working from home plus losing over 90 pounds means I have a lot of bummin’ around stuff but not much for working around people who aren’t your family or dog. Thank goodness for ThredUp, Poshmark and sales at Athleta, Old Navy and Loft (those are my go-to stores now). It still blows my mind that I'm in sizes 10, 12 and medium now. I haven't worn those since I was in my 20s.

I’m also perusing my lunchbag and container stash because I’ll be bringing my own stuff. It’s much easier to deal with my tiny stomach and its many likes and dislikes without wasting money on takeout food.

So, to use a phrase from my mom, that's what's new in the zoo.

A year ago I started 'today'


Y'know that quote "A year from now you may wish you had started today"? Year after year I would see that phrase and sigh wistfully. 

  • Sighing for the eating plans I gave up on.
  • Sighing for the gyms and trainers I had abandoned.
  • Sighing for the workout rotation calendars I had stopped following.
  • Sighing for everything I had started and stopped because it wasn't working for me.

And then, at the end of 2017 I decided to make that phrase a reality, to look at that sticker in my planner and feel a sense of accomplishment.

That's what I got to do this year.


(Anyone else a Happy Planner sticker fanatic? I have FAR too many sticker books.)

(And yes, the wording on the sticker is slightly different than the actual quote; don't think I didn't notice. I AM a copy editor and it's in my DNA to obsess over things like that.)

I got to look at that New Year's Eve sticker and shake my head "Yep! I did that!" this year.

I had my 1-year post-op recheck on Monday. The doctor didn't really do much -- mainly asked me if I had any health concerns, told me my bloodwork and scale work were stellar and send me on my merry way. I spent more time with the dietitian (as usual) because it's all about the eating and what the fancy Tanita scale shows. 

The best thing it showed was that my basal metabolic rate is 1,445 calories, which for a woman of my (ahem) age and lifetime of dieting is pretty darn good. That means that not even factoring in activity, I can eat that many calories and maintain my weight, which as of Monday was 173 pounds. I'm shooting for 165, which will get me to an even 100 pounds lost, so the BMR should hang out around that number. 

While 1,400 calories may not seem like much, it's pretty substantial for tiny tum-tums such as mine. I average around 1,200 right now, so 1,400 should be doable. 

Since Monday was my last prepaid visit with the bariatric dietitian, I asked her for the calendar of bariatric post-op meetings. Cleveland Clinic Florida has a fantastic support network, and I can go to a variety of post-op nutritional, emotional wellness and general support group meetings twice a month. 

Monday morning was the nutrition support group, and I got there about 15 minutes after it started. The group of around 20 was already into a spirited conversation about the keto diet, mostly because one guy seemed to think that everyone should be eating that way without exception. (Cool story, bro, but I like carbs.)

The dietitian leading the group was a familiar face, because I went to her and my other dietitian when I did the non-surgical weight-loss program at the hospital around six years ago. 

She got pretty "inside baseball" on nutrition, which I adore. We talked glycogenesis, the Krebs cycle, bariatric anatomy -- all the fun stuff! 

She also explained why we should be chewing fibrous food thoroughly, with the explanation of what a bezoar is (and no, it's not the founder of 

Another takeaway from that class, which I had heard before but had cemented into my psyche: My morning coffee with two scoops of collagen peptides is kind of a waste of time and money. "Think of it like eating Jell-O for breakfast," she said of the quality of the protein. So this morning I kicked off my day with a half cup of cottage cheese and a few pineapple chunks -- real, actual, complete protein. 

I think I'm going to start hitting up the meetings for another layer of information and support on the journey to maintenance, because as I have said and will continue to say: This weight is NOT coming back.

Video extra!

If you didn't catch that TV news segment that featured my sister and I (and the dog), here it is from Ivanhoe Broadcast's YouTube page:


Coming to a teevee near you (maybe) -- me!

A few months ago, a TV crew visited my sister and I to do a story on weight loss. We basically talked their ears off (as I am wont to do), but the story was ultimately boiled down to a 2-minute healthy living segment for local news.

I knew it would be airing in February but wasn't sure when. Then I got an email that some people had signed up for updates through Mailchimp and figured the segment was starting to air around the country. 

I don't know exactly where or when it'll air on any given station because TV stations throughout the country subscribe to this syndicate (Ivanhoe). 

But you're in luck! Here's a link to the piece from a station in upper Michigan. My sister (and my dog) are in the piece, and my sis is down more than 60 pounds since April.

The producer had asked me for "before" photos, and to be honest, it was kinda hard to find any. As most "fat moms" know, we're the family photographer, always volunteering to take photos and grudgingly appearing in a few, hiding behind the kids. But I found a few. 



I got my bloodwork back for my big one-year bariatric checkup, and once again my blood kicks butt. My total cholesterol is a swanky 146 with an HDL (good stuff) of 55, LDL (bad stuff) of 71 and a ratio of 1.3, which supposedly gives me half the risk of heart disease of the average person. My triglycerides are 100, which is big news for me because they've always been a little high (hello, carbs!). 

And, no, my eating is not particularly stellar. It's kinda boring, still pretty toddler sized, but the occasional fistful of tortilla chips or square of dark chocolate makes it into my day. 

Did I mention I joined WW before Thanksgiving?

I wanted to see what the hubbub was all about with its new focus on wellness, and I'm really enjoying it. There's not that old focus on weird low-point dessert recipes and overprocessed snack foods. It really does get more into activity and mindset, and WW has teamed up with the fitness app Aaptiv and the meditation app Headspace, and offers abbreviated selections on the WW app. I've lost 14 pounds with WW's help and I like the accountability of having someone other than myself weigh me once a week, because this weight is NOT. COMING. BACK.

As for the number on the scale, last Saturday I was at 174, which is nine pounds away from an even hundred.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd ever be able to lose 100 pounds -- even after having gastric bypass. The amount just seemed so overwhelming. I didn't think I needed to lose 100 pounds, and to be honest, I probably could stop here and be fine. 

But, c'mon! Who doesn't want to hit a hundy? 

I'll fill you in next week on how the one-year anniversary checkup goes.

The belly shot (and last day for giveaway!)

Ladies and gents, I present to you: What my midsection looks like after losing 87 pounds:


Overall, not bad! I'm pretty happy with the lack of squishy, loose skin, but I carried the bulk of my weight in the butt and thighs. Butt looks OK, thighs are kinda wobbly, upper arms are hilarious, but 1) I lost a bunch of weight; 2) I wear Bermuda shorts; and 3) I'm in my mid-50s so things were not going to spring back anyway. 

I do have a goofy deal going on in the belly button region now, since one of the surgery scars is right above it. Again, I'm not 1990s Britney Spears wearing belly shirts, so I'll live with it. 

Loose skin was something I fretted about when I was considering surgery. But loose skin doesn't just come from weight-loss surgery; it comes from all substantial weight loss, so it was gonna happen no matter what I did to lose weight. 

I'll take loose skin and wobbly bat wings any day over carrying around the excess weight and feeling like crap. 

Will I do "plastics" and tighten things up? I don't see that happening. It's all out of pocket, more major surgery, really expensive, involves multiple drains (I couldn't even deal with the one drain I had in February), and, to be honest, I look good in clothes and I don't have a burning desire to wear booty shorts or a bikini. 

I'm sharing this photo to help anyone thinking that loose skin is in their future after they lose weight. I'm over 50 and I don't feel like a freak show. Go for it.

Last day for the Honey Cloudz giveaway!

If you're interested in winning a pair of the best sports bra/swimsuit inserts I have ever tried, today is the last day. Go to my post HERE and get in your entries.

It doesn't work that way anymore

Rewire my brain-PixTeller-1319743
I don't know why I think I'll be back over 200 pounds when I get on the scale every week because it doesn't work that way anymore.  

I don't know why I think my jeans won't fit when I put them on, even though they fit a couple weeks ago. 

I don't know why I thought all those extra-large tankini tops would fit me when I brought them in the dressing room when I just got rid of a bunch of swimsuits in that size.

It doesn't work that way anymore.

But my brain still works that way, and it's going to take time to remold it to my new normal. That's the cool thing about brains -- you can rewire them but it takes time.

It's not really body dysmorphia because I DO see the changes when I look in the mirror. It's more like my brain having to play catch-up with my body. When I'm folding laundry I'll hold up a pair of my jeans and think "How do these possibly fit me???"

But they do. 



Three cheers for getting the heck out of the 200s!


I was waiting until this morning to step on the scale because I thought "Why not have the entire nation shoot off fireworks for this?"




And that was after eating restaurant food last night! Granted, all I had was half an appetizer eggroll, one nacho and the insides of a blackened shrimp taco, but still.



So now we come to the part of the show where Gail tries to figure out her "goal weight" because for YEARS I used to just say "Oh, I'd be happy just to get below 200!" 

Which I am now.

We all know BMI is a joke, especially if you have a large frame and a lot of muscle, which I thankfully do, so I'm not going to base my target weight on that random number. The scale at the hospital spits out a target weight every time I step on it, and it takes a lot of parameters into account, like age, height, body fat, muscle, bone, water, etc. The last time I stepped on, I got a "predicted weight" of 169.4 pounds, so I'll go with that for now. 

And since it's the Fourth of July, we shall celebrate with a vegan hotdog and my favorite Sousa march!


Burnin' my butter

Hey! Quickly popping in with a tale o' the tape -- more precisely a printout from the hospital dietitian's fancy Tanita scale today.

I meet with the dietitian every couple months to go over my eating, make any adjustments to my plan, and step on the high-tech scale. I have a pretty high-tech home scale in my Withings/Nokia/Withings Again Body Cardio scale, but this one is hospital grade, so I tend to trust it a bit more. 

I've been kicking butt in fat loss -- my April reading showed that out of the 17 total pounds I lost from February to April, 11.4 pounds was pure fat, 1 pound was total body water, and only 1 pound was fat-free mass. I know that doesn't completely add up, but I'm going by what the printout says. Apparently the more fat you lose, the more accurate the scale readings get.

Today's reading -- from April 10 to June 13 -- showed that out of the 17.8 total pounds I lost, 17 pounds was fat with just under a pound of fat-free mass lost.

All this to say ...


 I am burnin' the butter, which is a phrase Denise Austin used to say in her exercise videos. I used to cringe when she said it, but now that I am burning actual human butter, I'm kinda digging it.

I have been exercising more (but am totally behind on it this week), but I'm not going nuts or anything. I make sure my meals are protein-forward, but not every meal is stellar.

I mention this because THIS is exactly why I had weight-loss surgery. The times when I could pound off a few pounds I was making myself absolutely NUTS, doing workouts I hated, obsessively and neurotically tracking my food and watching the scale slowly creep down, bounce back up or flatline. Now I can exercise and eat without making myself crazy, and the scale moves down. 

My waistline is moving down, too. That's the only measurement I'm taking. At the beginning of the year my waist was around 42 inches. Today it was right around 35, a number that I've kept in my head ever since Dr. Oz used 35 inches as a marker for increased chronic diseases. So you can say I passed a big milestone this week.

Other notes from today

  • She's really happy with my weight loss, even though I intentionally slowed it in May to try out new foods and calorie levels. According to her scale I'm at 203.8, which is tantalizingly close to Onederland.
  • She wants me to increase my daily protein from 60 grams a day to 80 grams, so I'll be throwing protein powder in everything and chugging protein shakes until I can tolerate more solid proteins (STILL having an issue with chicken!).
  • She'd like me to keep my total calories to around 900 a day. I wasn't really sure how much to increase it from the initial 600-ish but I knew I had to once I started exercising. 
  • And I really need to do better with water. According to my Tanita printout, I'm on the low end of the hydration scale, so I'm breaking out the big Hydro Flask again and making sure I drink two of those a day. When you can't eat and drink at the same time it can get frustrating to get both your water and your protein in when your stomach is the size of an egg.