#YWM2013 Wrap-Up: A Weekend to Remember!

Let’s be honest: Anyone can begin a “weight loss journey.” Anyone can start and maintain a blog.

But, me? I truly feel there needs to be an underlying passion to really advocate and educate an audience when it comes to the importance of these lifestyle changes, milestones, and victories!

I am so grateful that Sean and I were able to make it to the Obesity Action Coalition Your Weight Matters Convention in Phoenix this year.

I met so many amazing people, and learned so much useful information that I am excited to use to keep going through my transformation, and hopefully, utilize to inspire you on YOURS.

There were multiple speakers and educational sessions that really taught me a lot, and also, some that validated the feelings I have had at my heaviest, and as I transition to the newer, healthier, fitter me.

Sadly, we weren’t able to make it to Thursday’s Member Mingle and Advocacy Training, but we arrived just at the beginning of the breakout sessions on Friday morning, and from the moment we walked into the conference hall, I could feel the energy!

Our first session we attended was “Weight Bias: Changing Public Perception Starts with Me.” I felt like this session was the best way for us to start the day, because a lot of people don’t realize that images and stereotypes of Obesity are perpetuated by society without even thinking about it. How many times have you held a bias towards someone who was Obese, or even too thin? We all do it, and more importantly, we can all help BREAK THAT CYCLE! I am pretty well-known in my circle of friends for being very vocal when people try to attack my size or the size of others in general (just attack-y people in general). I feel a need to really put these people in their place, and make them realize that 1) people can HEAR them and 2) it’s NOT ok to treat people that way. What I walked away from this session, is that I can use the information and resources I have from organizations like the OAC, or even my personal experiences, to educate people, and break those biases.

Other sessions we attended?

Everyday Advocacy: Simple Ways to Make a Difference,” “Planning, Shopping, and Dining: Practical Tactics for Good Nutrition,” “Who’s Staring Back at You in the Mirror: Improving Self-Perception,” “Understanding and Managing Food Addiction,” “My Everyday Routine Matters: Sleep, Stress, and Other Factors Impacting Weight,” and “Weighing Success Beyond the Scale: Identifying and Maintaining a Healthy Weight,” and “Expectations of Your Body After Weight Loss: Plastic Surgery and Other Options.”

All in all? So much good stuff! The OAC will be providing attendees with access to the powerpoint presentations within a week or so, and I’ll be sure to get access of all of you, so that you can see all the amazing lectures and statistics we got to learn from!

Friday evening, there was a Welcoming Ceremonies Dinner, and Sean and I sat at an empty table by the door. We were later joined by 4 others, who just so happened to all be representatives from the Platinum Sponsor of the convention, Eisai Pharmaceuticals. This company has just launched a new weight loss drug that uses neuro-science and triggers the signal in your brain that tells you that you are “full.” They were so interested in my opinion of the American Medical Association declaring Obesity a disease, and what my thoughts are on their product.

It felt so AMAZING to be sitting with this group of professionals and talking to them about something that I wish would have been a more prevalent option back when I was talking about Weight Loss Surgery with my Primary Care Physician. I was honored to have my opinion regarded so highly, and it was an awesome networking opportunity, as well. One woman shared her personal weight loss success with me, and said she was going to have her sister check out my blog.

In general, I made some new friends, and they happened to be some of my most favorite WLS/Health/Weight Loss bloggers! It was AWESOME! Twitter shout-outs were happening all weekend!

It was 114 degrees all weekend, and Saturday night after the awards dinner as I was headed to the bar with some new friends, it was actually raining, and there was lightning…but it was STILL 100 degrees! Crazy!

The resort was beautiful. The OAC truly picked an ideal location, and we enjoyed all of the amenities of the resort that we were able to use during our visit.

20130817_111633

One cool thing about the event was that at the Welcoming Ceremonies Dinner, the location and date of the 2014 Convention was announced!

wpid-2013-08-16-21.28.44.png

Will YOU be there? Because if so, you’ll run into me! We are already planning to make sure we can fit this into the budget, and I am hoping we can make it our first real vacation together, as well! No way we are going to Orlando and not going to their Sea World (and maybe even DISNEYWORLD!?!?!)

We shall see what happens 🙂

This event got me even more excited and inspired for my next convention in October, and it is really cool that some of the new friends I have made will be there, so I won’t be the totally new kid this time around! I cannot wait!

If you’re interested in starting your experience with these amazing, inspiring, educational events, you still have time to register and join me at the Obesity Help Convention in Anaheim October 4-5 and experience the magic for yourself!

That’s all for now, but stay tuned for those amazing presentation powerpoint links coming soon!

Sean and I are off to use our “Planning, Shopping, and Dining: Practical Tactics for Good Nutrition” education this weekend, and prepping all of our meals for the week after we hit up Costco and the Farmer’s Market to do some nutritious damage.

Now? Time to work on the thigh lift post you’ve all been asking for, before this Percocet kicks in again and makes me snooze for the next 6 hours!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

#YWM2013 Day Two!

Ok. So, yesterday?

Yup. Totally amazing (or as my cousin Kirsten would say, “totes amaze!” Unfortunately,  I don’t sound sound as chic as her when I try that)!!!!

Sean and I attended some amazing educational sessions, from ones about Self Perception with the AMAZING Merrill Littleberry (Google her. Now.), to Advocacy and what we a can to to help stop ignorance towards Obesity!

I met fellow blogger, “The Waning Woman!” She came up to Sean and I between sessions to say hi, which I thought was pretty awesome!

It’s about 114 degrees here in Phoenix. Loosely translated,  that means that as Sean said “it’s like having a man’s hot breath all over your body!”…every time you walk out the door. You’re welcome for that charming simile!

Despite the heat, I am freezing everytime I enter the conference room, and as a result I am all congested and have a sore throat. Thank goodness for the coffee and tea station set up outside the educational session rooms all day. More tea and honey with breakfast!!

Today, we are thinking about heading to the resort water park during one of the breaks. It is super close to our suite, and we get free access to it all weekend as part of the special convention rate we got staying here at The Arizona Grand Resort and Spa. Golf course, 4 or 5 restaurants, huge conference amenities,  golf cart pickup and drop off around the grounds…all that they DON’T have is a casino, which is likely for the best. 😉

He evening ended last night at the Welcoming Ceremonies beach-themed, buffet-dinner party (3 words: frozen yogurt bar. Yummy!), where the OAC announced next year’s convention location!!

image

How exciting is THAT??!! Sean and I are already talking about the possibilities and committing to working out our finances to make sure we can go (we should have our own place by then, so we will have to be even MORE responsible) to make our fun trips and experiences a priority.

I am so, so, so excited to be in attendance at this amazing convention.
Today’s agenda? Introductions with the OAC President and CEO (SUCH an inspring individual), learning more about Advocacy Trip scholarships, getting more materials for my healthcare providers from the OAC to distribute back home in Cali, and not dying of Heat Stroke!

Sean and I were fortunate enough to meet some nice people at dinner laat night who were here representing the conventions Platinum Sponsor, Eisai Pharmaceuticals. We are excited to stop by their booth in the vendor area today and get health screenings! They are providing a copy to each participant to take back to their Doctor, to catalyst a discussion about their weight. I am in serious awe of the products/programs they create, and can’t wait to learn more!

I guess it would be way easier to get the say started if I get up and do my hair, huh?

That’s all for now,  but keep a lookout for more fun and exciting #YWM2013 updates! Follow @SeeSondraSlim on Twitter,  and “Like” the official SeeSondraSlim page on facebook for photos,  and tidbits of todays educational sessions and speakers!!  

Waiting for Tonight!

Hey Lovelies!

I am chillin’ at Starbucks and thought I’d work on the blog while I wait for the concert in just a couple hours!

I know I am 25 years old, but I admit it. I LOVE Taylor Swift. Catchy tunes, writes her own songs, and her fave number is 13? She stole my heart right along with the hearts of the 9-year-old girls!

I am excited not just for the concert tonight, but because tomorrow Sean and I head to Phoenix for #YMW13 with the Obesity Action Coalition.

Even if you cannot attend this year, you are in luck! The OAC will be streaming some of the educational sessions LIVE for your viewing/educational pleasure!

Tonight, they have the special “Teaming Up to Tackle Obesity” session with two former NFL players discussing how even athletes struggle to keep a healthy weight on and off the field!

Check out the line-up:

LivestreamScheduleGraphic_Final_Revised

To get direct links to stream each session live, click HERE

Please note that all broadcasts are Pacific Standard Time.

I hope that some of you will check out the wealth of information that the OAC has to offer. I am so excited to be there.

Don’t Forget!! You can submit your questions on Twitter using the hashtag #YMW13 starting at 7pm PST!

That’s all for now. I have some last minute road trip items to pick up before the concert starts, but I hope everyone has a fab evening! It’s almost Friday!!!! ❀

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

 

Everyday Inspiration: Meet E!

I have to admit it. I go into each and every day hoping to be of some sort of inspiration or motivation to people.

All I ever really wanted to do in life was make a difference, and I am still on a journey to find out just what medium I will use to do so.

In the process, SeeSondraSlim began. It has been one of the most rewarding, most fulfilling things I have ever ventured into, and I am blessed to be working towards building it and molding it even more.

One thing I am most proud of is my 30 Day Challenge Installments. I knew that to truly see the changes (you still have  hard time seeing the differences that are so obvious to others when you’re used to being so big!), I needed to post photo documentation. Not only did it help me see my success and boost my confidence…it inspired others! It opened up a whole new world of support for me, and that will always be one of my biggest achievements!

I am excited to announce that one of my most favorite people on the planet, my cousin, reached out to be and volunteered to share her photos at the beginning of her own weight loss Journey!

E. is 26 years old, and gave birth to an adorable baby boy earlier this year!

Here, you can see E. at her smaller size. I think this is from Christmas 2009:

2013-08-14 21.19.00

Now, she is ready to “get her body back,” and recently begun new workout routines and eating better.

Here are here starting photos, at 195 lbs:

IMG_20130731_223131_677-1-1 IMG_20130731_224501 IMG_20130731_223107_835-1

If you’ve been there before (or just followed my posts), you know it takes a lot of courage, and a lot of self-love to volunteer like this(clearly, it runs in the family)! Huge thanks to my cousin for sharing, and best of luck on your new journey!

We will be checking in with her periodically to see how her progress is coming along!

Here is to the beginning of a new journey!

YOU CAN DO IT!!

Got any tips for shedding weight post-baby? Share them here, or on the SeeSondraSlim Facebook Page! Let’s support E. in her endeavors!

Other new mommies on a weight loss journey?
Here are some links to sites that may be of some extra motivation to you!

50 Inspiring Blogs for Post-Baby Weight Loss

Happy Reading! 🙂

If you’re interested in submitting your own photos for the SeeSondraSlim 30 Day Challenge Support posts, please email me at SeeSondraSlim@gmail.com! Let this become the support system for you, that it has been for me!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

SeeSondraStrategize: Healthy Ways to Hit the Town!

Hey Lovelies!

It’s a sad fact: Most people think your days of eating out after weight loss surgery (or just if you’re trying to live a healthier lifestyle) are over .Done-zo. Finished.

It doesn’t have to be that way!!!

Since I first decided to have WLS back in the beginning of 2011, I was determined to figure out how my old life and my new body could live in harmony.

When it came to the idea of eating out, it never occurred to me that I’d have to stop altogether. I was more worried about the fact that I’d most likely end up wasting mass amounts of food if I ate out frequently. My personal favorite weight loss blogger, Shelly, over at The World According to Eggface is a genius when it comes to what she calls re-purposing her leftovers. I could easily do this, but frankly, I’m a little too lazy!

There are a few simple things to keep in mind when it comes to eating out.

1. Plan your attack!

Technology is amazing! You can check out a restaurants reviews, read a menu, find directions to get there, and so much more. A few minutes before or during the car ride to the restaurant is all you need to set yourself up for sit-in success! I like to use Yelp.com to check out different options in the immediate area, and after finding one that has high reviews and decent prices, I click through to the menu on the link typically provided.

Whether you’re keeping it low-carb, low-cal, low-fat, or just treating yourself on your “Reward Day,” this is a fabulous resource! See what local connoisseurs highly recommend and adapt it to your needs! Sometimes, I’ll find myself craving a burger or tacos…and I’ll indulge! I order tacos and dump all the filling in a bowl with my favorite red sauce, and it’s heaven. Order a perfect turkey burger and get it wrapped in lettuce or with no bun period. You’d be surprised how much something tastes like heaven, even if you eliminate the part you used to live for!

2. Avoid Fast Food 

I totally said it. You gotta understand, even before I had WLS, I couldn’t really handle a lot of fast food. Sure, I’d get a craving for Taco Bell and binge my brains out, but I couldn’t STAND the way it made me feel! I REFUSE to eat at McDonald’s…so you won’t find any tips for that here. Luckily, places like Taco Bell have gotten creative and adapted their menus with healthier options, but I still prefer to just keep my distance. If you’re in the market for fast food, here are some suggestions from Shelly’s blog that I find useful. My personal choices at the “fine dining establishments” are noted in italics next to hers. 🙂

In & Out Burger: “Protein-style”
Single Cheeseburger with grilled onions (Protein style = wrapped in lettuce
instead of a bun)

Taco Bell, Del Taco: Order of Pintos & Cheese/refried beans with a scoop of meat or
chicken added

El Pollo Loco:
Grilled Chicken Breast (single piece – they are huge) or $1 side salad minus
tortilla strips & the $1 Chicken Taco El Carbon. I discard the tortilla and
dump the chicken on the salad. Great meal for $2. I go for the small Chicken Tortilla Soup.

McDonald’s: Premium Caesar Salad with Grilled
Chicken, no dressing (ask for salsa packets)

Carl’s Jr: Cranberry, Apple, Walnut Grilled
Chicken Salad (ax the walnuts if you are sensitive to sugars they are glazed) or
they will wrap any of their burgers in lettuce. Just ask for the “Lettuce Wrap”
version

Sbarro: Side of Meatballs
or Sausage with Sauce

Wendy’s:
Chili

Jack in the Box: Denver Breakfast bowl
minus the hashbrowns & white cheese sauce, Southwest Chicken Bowl or
Teriyaki Chicken Bowl minus rice

Subway, Submarina, Quiznos: They will turn any of the subs into salads. Watch the
dressings, ax the croutons/breadsticks/flat breads. I like Quiznos soup
too

Starbucks: Egg White Whole
Wheat Feta Wrap, Oatmeal, Protein Plate giveaway the date bread, Soy Lattes. I personally go for the Grilled Chicken and Hummus Bento Box, Protein Bento Box, or a fruit and yogurt parfait (the raspberry and peach is REALLY good)

Jamba Juice:
Oatmeal with banana. I typically get a kids sized smoothie from the new kids menu, and a CherryAlmond oatmeal if I am really hungry. Or, I’ll go ahead and get a 16oz fruit and veggies smoothie!

Chipotle: Burrito
Bowl minus rice (this will feed an Army)

Baja Fresh: Tortilla Soup (minus tortilla
strips)

Chick-fil-A: Chargrilled
& Fruit Salad (newly discovered), Kid’s Meal Grilled Chicken Nuggets with
fruit salad and water.

Rubio’s: You can have grilled fish on any
of their salads. Ask for dressing on the side or better yet use salsa.

Diners, IHOP, Denny’s: Scrambled
Eggs with Cheese is my standard. If they have turkey sausage even better. I typically look for the “lighter side menus” at all these restaurants and get the egg whites or one egg, turkey sausage, and fruit! I fight the urge to order pancakes or hash browns by eating bites of Sean’s!

3. Caring is Sharing

It’s the simplest trick in my book! Opt for things like your favorite Chinese place in the neighborhood, and share single entrees family style. We are inclined to order so much takeout, but you’d be surprised how much food (unnecessary calorie-laden food) it is! Whether you’re housing  new, smaller stomach, or just trying to cut back and eat better….sharing is foolproof! Sean and I will get Broccoli and Beef, Won Ton Soup and by the time we finish the soup and the entrĂ©e comes, we hardly eat any steamed rice! Ask for options like brown rice or extra veggies to kick your healthy into overdrive, and NEVER, EVER feel like it’s tacky to share. It’s your money…and it’s your stomach! The Chinese restaurant won’t pay for your funeral!

Or for those Girls’ Nights? Try family style food. I went out with the girls to a Tapas Bar and we shared 3-5 small plates and a pitcher of sangria…and it was perfect! For Alex’s Bachelorette party, we went to The Melting Pot, a trendy fondue restaurant and shared a bunch of food. It was just enough for each person without being overwhelming, and we all got to try different menu items.

4. Order from the Kids Menu or Happy Hour Menu

My favorite fast and lazy “I got off work so late and I’m not cooking” meal? A 4 piece chicken nugget kids meal from Chik-fil-A with a fruit cup instead of fries, and a diet lemonade. If I’m really feeling dangerous, I’ll order regular lemonade. I know…such a rebel!! You can do this with places like Chipotle, Panera, Noodles and Company, etc. Not only do I have a “fast food” meal that doesn’t make me feel all lethargic and disgusting…I spent less money and ate waaaayyyy less calories than I would have would a regular combo or Value Meal. Winning! My other go-to? My friend Katrina and I have monthly Happy Hour dates to catch up, and usually end up at The Elephant Bar! Elephant Bar, Pei Wei, and PF Changs are awesome because they have these healthy and delicious chicken lettuce wraps! Low-cal, low-carb, tons of protein, and enough for two people, and just $5 during Happy Hour!!

The most important thing you can take away with you from any “dining out” experience?

Your leftovers! There was a time where I felt guilty leaving any food on my plate. And I’m not one for leftovers, historically (I’ve gotten much better in the last 7 or 8 years, now that I pay for groceries!), but I’d rather eat just enough to be satisfied, and take the rest home. Sometimes I give it to a homeless person on the street. Sometimes I let Alex and Josh know they’re up for grabs in the fridge. Sometimes I give it to Sean’s mom for her lunch at work the next day. It doesn’t matter what you do…just don’t stuff yourself once you’re done eating. It’s time we stopped letting food be more than just nourishment! It doesn’t need to rule your emotions or comfort you…just needs to sustain you until the next meal!

That’s all for now, but I hope I have given you something to work with the next time you head out for a meal on the town!

Sound off! Leave me a comment and tell me what YOUR favorite tip(s) are for eating out when you’re trying to eat healthier?

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO