Three Years Later: Life After My Gastric Bypass Surgery

(null)Transparency can be a difficult thing.

When I decided to start Beauty and the Bypass, I was feeling empowered. After years of unsuccessful weight loss attempts, I was ready to proactively change my life. I was motivated to not only be a success for myself, but to inspire other people to do hard things.

Year one was the year of achievement. I went under the knife. I shared my ups, downs, and sideways moments. I hit many numerical goals and shared frequent non-scale victories. I lost 100 pounds in 6.5 months, and was down exactly 130 pounds on my one year “surgiversary.” But that was a one-day weight…and possibly a fluke with my scale.

At the beginning, I wanted desperately to be able to glide into Onederland and be under 200 pounds. But on my best and lowest day, I was 241. I hovered between 245 and 255 for the next year, struggling with reactive hypoglycemia, mono, peritonsillar abscesses and some deep mental health struggles. In October 2013, I had a tonsillectomy which resolved the recurring infections and mono. However, within a month of the surgery, I moved from Salt Lake City to Detroit and started a new job. Talk about a crazy whirlwind!

nicole bullock weight lossOnce I was in Detroit, I had a few personal epiphanies about my happiness. Because I was in a new place, re-establishing friend groups and professional ties…I realized how taxing it was to be “weight loss girl”. I was insecure about my weight loss success story because I was still technically obese. While specific numerical weight goals were in my head, my real personal goals were physical health (reduction of comorbid conditions like sleep apnea and hypertension), mental health, and ability of participate in physical activities without my weight/size limiting me. I realized that I had achieved improved health and activity, but my mental health was still lacking.

As a sufferer of depression and anxiety since my teen years, I’ve tried plenty of medications and met with quite a few mental health professionals. The pills and visits seemed to help me situationally, but I still would get into phases where my coping skills were poor. And whereas food was a frequent coping mechanism prior to surgery, I had lost my ability to medicate with food to a degree. After a long hard look at my life, my happiness, and my health…I decided that blogging no longer brought me the satisfaction it had for over a decade.

So I stopped giving myself arbitrary expectations of writing posts…just because. I got many concerned messages from readers, and I wasn’t exactly sure what to say. I was living my life as a healthier woman, and didn’t necessarily want the voyeurs of the interwebz to have access to my deepest and darkest. I posted a little on my Beauty and the Bypass Twitter and Facebook pages, but the previous drive to maintain my online success was gone. I declined sponsorships, product reviews, and opportunities to make money off my weight loss success. Some days I regretted it…but it was largely a relief to take myself out of the spotlight.

I knew I’d still want to make occasional updates on the blog, but I feel like most of my gastric bypass story has been told. There are bloggers I adore such as Melting Mama and Eggface who continually update the WLS world on post-op life. But since several people have asked me to give an update, here are a few highlights of 2014.

(null)My friend Wendy contacted me and said she was going to be coming to town in October to do the Detroit Free Press international half-marathon. Through her powers of persuasion, i consented. I’m not a runner by any means, and I care about my joints too much to take up rigorous running at this weight. So I walked and jogged 13.1 miles through Detroit and Windsor, ON. It was the most physically taxing thing I’ve ever done, but I hobbled through the last 2 miles and sprinted across the finish line to get my awesome finisher medal.

I was very into tracking my fitness during the year with my Fitbit One Activity Tracker (add me on my Fitbit profile). I made a goal of walking 3 MILLION STEPS in 2015…and I accomplished it. In fact, I ended the year with a total of 3,433,531 steps, which was the equivalent of 1593.95 miles. Also, I climbed 3,748 flights of stairs! But one thing that I learned is that steps alone won’t make you lose weight…and an active lifestyle still requires control of what you eat. I was less careful about my intake in 2014, and that’s part of the reason I had some regain. I own it, and I’m working on it.

(null)Another highlight of 2014 was my family trip to Amsterdam. When the Bullock family travels, we do so in short intense bursts. With only 4 days in the Netherlands, we crammed in as much excitement as physically and financially possible. We walked and walked and ate and enjoyed time as a family (and I celebrated my 10 year wedding anniversary with Taylor). It was such a happy trip, and I would not have been able to enjoy it so much had I not lost the weight from gastric bypass.

My weight has crept up to 270ish, and my goal for 2015 is to tackle some of this regain. It’s hard to stay active through Detroit’s arctic winters, but I look forward to spring when I will be able to ride my bike all over my area and spend my lunch breaks wandering through Detroit people watching and taking pictures.

And that’s my 3-year post-op update.

Blog Forward: The 2014 ZonePerfect Challenge

The last two years have been such an amazing journey with my health. This week in 2012, I was beginning the pre-surgery diet to prepare for my gastric bypass. I lost 120 pounds in the next 11 months, with a pretty constant downtrend in scale numbers. Through 2013, my life was less restricted. I was able to eat more, tolerate more varieties of food, and started testing out the limits of my newly-regained healthy body. Despite the loss of weight, I still had health concerns and had to proceed with caution. I struggled with reactive hypoglycemia as I tried to become a more serious athlete. I had mono and peritonsillar abscesses, went on steroids, gained some weight, and then had a tonsillectomy. Two weeks later began a two month whirlwind of travel, packing, interviewing, and general life insanity to prepare for our move to Michigan.

zoneperfect cashew pretzel barNow it’s 2014. I feel like my health is back in my control. I got a Fitbit One for Christmas, and it’s helped me be more aware of my activity levels. January has been an incredibly involved month at work, I’ve worked a lot of overtime, and the Fitbit kept me motivated to walk a little more and take the stairs whenever possible. I haven’t been to the gym as frequently as I’d like, but tracking on the Fitbit stats often push me to go longer at the gym. However, no matter my activity levels, I still need to be mindful about what I eat.

ZonePerfect invited me to be a blogger for their 2014 BlogForward challenge. It’s a campaign for bloggers to make healthy resolutions in 2014, with challenges through the year to keep us motivated and on-track for long-term success. I have been a fan of their bars for several years, and I’m happy to act as a brand ambassador in this challenge.

zone perfect nutrition protein barsFor this challenge, I’ve decided on these goals:

1. Avoid mindless snacking by planning the food I bring on the go. Between long work days, too much time in a car, frequent travel, and other life unpredictability, I’ve begun to rely too much on junk and convenience foods again. A pastry or bag of chips at the gas station were almost a daily norm before surgery. When I don’t plan, I don’t make good decisions. I do best when I have a supply of nuts, jerky, dried fruit, and bars tucked in my desk or glove box.

2. Walk 3,000,000 steps. With the Fitbit being much more accurate than any cheap pedometer I’ve used, I feel like my efforts are properly documented. And seeing my number sync through the day help me add additional activity. I’ve calculated that to reach 3 million steps, it averages out to be about 8,500 steps a day. Most days, this is doable. And when it’s not, I’ll make up for it other days.

3. Work on my endurance to prepare for the Detroit Free Press International half-marathon. Through the encouragement of my friend Wendy, I’ve signed up to participate in the Detroit half, which is one of the only races that cross international boarders , going from the US to Canada and back.

4. Get below a BMI of 29. Despite losing so much weight, I’m still in the obese category. And by golly, I want to just be “overweight”!!! That means I’ve got about 40 pounds to hit that milestone. If I’m consistent, that’s just 3-4 pounds a month. It’ll be tough, but I think I can achieve it.

zone perfect vanilla cupcakeSo, dear blog friends…what are your health and fitness resolutions for 2014? Can you help be my cheerleaders to meet my goals this year? Let’s Blog Forward together!

P.S. The Kidz Zone Yellow Cupcake bar is THE BOMB. I call it the “cupcake crack” bar. It’s soooo good. You’ve gotta try it.

Disclosure: I have agreed to be a brand ambassador for ZonePerfect as part of the Blog Forward Challenge. I have not received any monetary compensation, but I will be receiving shipments of free product through the year to enjoy and share with my readers. All opinions, good or bad, are my own.

2013 Healthy Holidays Gift Guide

With all of the food and extravagance of the holidays, it can be difficult to stay healthy and make good choices. Many holiday gift guides I’ve seen have been for products that are grandiose splurges, and not necessarily mindful of a healthy lifestyle. In this post, I am highlighting gift ideas for a healthful life, both for weight loss surgery patients and their loved ones.

Crio Bru

crio bruI am personally not a coffee drinker, and I am no longer able to tolerate most hot cocoas because of the sugar content. I like having a warm chocolately drink, but not enough to take a ride into dumpsville. Last year I discovered Crio Bru, which is a brewed cocoa drink that is delicious, low calorie, and unique. It is a natural appetite suppressant and gives you energy without traditional caffeine. It can be prepared in a French Press or traditional coffee maker. My favorite blends are Cavalla (cinnamon and coconut) and Maya (spicy chocolate). Most products are between $10-15, and  are in the form of the Crio grounds, Crio Cocoa, and Crio espresso. And they have cocoa-coated cocoa beans. It’s available in many grocery and specialty stores across Utah, or online at

Tessara Tea

Awake-and-alive-tessara-teaAlong with the hot drink theme, I’ve also become hooked on herbal tea. I’ve recently discovered Tessara Tea, which offers natural herbal infusions to saturate the body with nutrients. Herbal infusions are made by steeping plants material in water, including roots, barks, leaves, berries and flowers. While steeping, the plant materials release their essential minerals and nutrients into the water, making it easy for the body to absorb and digest. They have 3 different blends: Awake and Alive, Nourish and Cleanse, and Rest and Repair. They are a local Michigan company that has just expanded out of the local market, and their teas can be purchased online at

Better’n Peanut Butter

better'n butter peanut butterPeanut butter is a great source of protein, but it’s high in fat and calories. With 85% less fat and 40% fewer calories than regular peanut butter, Better ‘n Peanut Butter is a tasty item for weight conscious people, and it tastes fantastic. I was introduced to Better’n Peanut Butter at the Obesity Action Coalition conference in Phoenix this year, where they had a booth. I sampled ALL of their flavors: original, chocolate, banana, cinnamon chocolate, coconut chocolate, hot pepper, maple bacon and more. It’s delicious, and feels like a splurge item without sacrificing too many calories. I’ve put it on sandwiches, crackers, pretzels,fruit, and mixed it into protein shakes. You can find Better’n Peanut Butter at select Target, Rite-Aid, and Trader Joe’s stores, or online at the Better’n Peanut Butter website.

Six Nutrition Vitamins for Men

six nutrition mens vitaminsGot a man in your life that needs quality vitamin supplements for an active lifestyle? Six Nutrition has a complete vitamin packet for men that  pinpoints 6 key areas of health: heart, joint, sex, muscles, mind, and energy. Each day’s pills are packaged in a stylish foil packet that make it easy to stash in your pocket, briefcase, suitcase, or desk. My husband recently did a review of Six Nutrition Vitamins on my other blog, if you’d like to read about his experience. You can purchase Six Nutrition Vitamins from their website.

Fit Frappe Protein Drink

fit frappe vanillaSince I had my gastric bypass surgery last year, I have been around the block and back on protein mixes. I seem to fixate on certain brands for a while, then get tired of the way they taste. Of any protein I’ve tried, I am happiest with Big Train Fit Frappe protein in vanilla. It is very versatile…you can flavor it with sugar-free syrups, add it into recipes and fancy drinks, serve it hot or cold, and get single-serve packets for when you are on the go. Another plus about this particular powder…you can add it into other protein mixes to make the more tolerable. I hate throwing away protein just because I don’t like the taste, and mixing in a little Fit Frappe seems to make everything taste better. Fit Frappe is also available in coffee, mocha, espresso, chocolate, chai, and vanilla latte flavors.

Blender Bottle

blender bottleNo matter how I plan my day, I tend to have a lot of meals on the go. I am good at packing some healthy high-protein snacks, but sometimes you need a meal replacement. My favorite product for taking a meal on the go is the classic 20 ounce Blender Bottle. It’s made of sturdy plastic, has a removable metal BlenderBall for easy cleaning, and the lid makes it easy to shake things up without leaking. I have several bottles in various sizes and colors, and I love stashing one in my suitcase with Ziploc baggies of protein powder for when I travel. They’re affordable, and can be found everywhere from GNC to Walmart to Amazon.

Healthy Holidays!

Finding The Answers: Mono and My Tonsils

recovering from tonsillectomyMy, my, my. It has been a crazy few months. Crazy difficult.

I haven’t felt like myself for months. Starting in May, around the time I went to Vegas, I began feeling extreme fatigue. I’ve dealt with fatigue several times before, but this was significantly worse. I though it was caused by a vitamin deficiency, so I got all of my lab work done. But everything came back unremarkable, and the rapid mono-spot test came back negative. My doctor ordered additional tests, and there was still no answer to why I was so dang tired.

I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for years, and the summer months tend to be difficult for me. I will get into a summertime slump, and try my best to just make it through my seasonal mental health woes. This summer was difficult, but it didn’t feel like the past few years. I had a hard time staying awake through a full day at work. Despite my best attempts to focus and be productive, I felt like my brain was in a continual fog. I would get home from work, zone out, and not accomplish anything else for the day.

Stress was high because our family knew that a cross-country move was on the horizon. Taylor was transferred to Detroit in March, and it became evident that our family needed to relocate to be with him. I wore myself out trying to apply for jobs for months, and nothing was working out. I was discouraged, in addition to feeling like a blob of fatigue.

In late August, some friends invited me to try a yoga class. I’ve heard that yoga is good for stress reduction, so I figured it couldn’t hurt. I didn’t love the class, but I gave it a good effort. The next morning I woke up feeling toxic. Over the next few days, I started developing swollen glands and a one-sided sore throat. I don’t know if this was caused by the yoga, or the toxins released by the stretches, but the timing is suspect.

recovery from tonsillectomy

As the pain and swelling worsened, I decided to get checked out at urgent care. The rapid strep test was negative, but the swelling was large and abnormal. I was diagnosed with peritonsillar abscesses, which can be caused by both bacteria and viruses. I went through courses of IV antibiotics, antibiotic shots, two rounds of oral antibiotics, and a whole lot of steroids. I spent weeks in pain, in bed, and missing work. I visited with my ear, nose, and throat doctor, who said that if they abscesses didn’t resolve themselves on their own, surgery was the next step.

Over a weekend, things got worse. I was in more pain, the swelling increased, and I was very dehydrated. I went back to urgent care, had another negative strep test, and the doctor diagnosed me with infectious mononucleosis. He ordered a large battery of viral testing, told me to avoid contact sports and saliva contact with people, and urged me to get a tonsillectomy ASAP. A few days later, the results came back. I indeed had mono, even though my earlier rapid strep test was negative. I was positive for herpes simplex 1 virus and Epstein Barr virus, with an active infection for 5 months. The only way to resolve the mono was to get the tonsils removed. As soon as my ENT could get me in, I had a surgery date scheduled.

I will not lie. The tonsillectomy was horrible. I wrote a very detailed post about the nitty gritty of an adult tonsillectomy on my other blog. Two weeks of pain, discomfort, swelling, and misery. But it also was a turning point for me – I knew life was about to get much better. I started to feel a spark in me that had been absent for half a year. After months of unsuccessful job hunting, I started getting job interviews. And then I quickly was offered a job. Things were starting to fall in place for our family to move, and we’re now in the thick of the moving process.

I haven’t been writing about my weight loss surgery much because my other health concerns have been far more important lately. I feel like I’m in my groove as a bariatric patient, and there’s not a lot of new things to write about. I have gained about 15 pounds through this mono/steroids/surgery/moving debacle, and I’m looking forward to being back on a schedule once we’re in our new house. I still feel the effects of mono fatigue, so I’ve been very careful to not overdo it with exercise. I do some moderate walking, but avoid anything excessive. I have far too much stress to manage to push myself physically.

I apologize if my future posts are less frequent. I haven’t give up this blog, but I also have greater responsibilities to fill my time (like my new job). I still plan to lose more weight and document it here. My journey is far from over.

But for now, I’ve at least figured out why I’ve felt so awful for half of a year.

Wordless Wednesday: Polysomnography Testing


Catching Up With Nicole

Bariatric Bad Girls BraceletsMy, my, my. It’s been a busy few weeks. I’ve had so much going on that I’ve hardly had a chance to do anything blog-related. So consider this my catch-up post. I know it’s April Fools Day, but no jokes in this post!

My Trip to Virginia: My friend Robin from BBGC hosted a party in Virginia, and as soon as I knew it was happening…I had to go. Standby flights worked out in my favor, and I got to spend last weekend with some of my favorite ladies in the WLS community. In this pic: Carla, Crystal, Nicole, Suzanne, Robin, and me….all sporting our pink BBGC bracelets.

I’ve spent so much time talking online with these ladies, and only have seen them in person one other time in Atlanta for the Obesity Help event. I feel so much sisterhood with Bad Girls, and I wish I could spend so much more time with them in person. I’m really looking forward to the WLSFA Meet and Greet in May, as well as the Obesity Action Coalition conference in August.

Reactive Hypoglycemia Update: After 2 months of waiting, I finally got in for my endocrinology appointment at the Utah Diabetes Center. The doctor reviewed my symptoms, food and exercise diaries, and agreed the best thing to do for now is to monitor my blood glucose levels. I got my DIABEETUS testing supplies and it’s been nice to have better marker of my blood sugar levels than just symptoms alone.

I have been holding back at hard exercise at his suggestion, so most of my workouts are less than 30 minutes (and usually just walking). I also met with a nutritionist, who suggested that I eat about 300 more calories a day, with more complex carbohydrates and protein. I’ve only had 2 RH episodes in the past two weeks, which I consider a victory. Unfortunately, my 3-month weight plateau continues…

nicole at instacareBronchitis: I’ve been out of commission with bronchitis for a few days, but I’m starting to be on the mend. I had 10 days of minor symptoms that eventually culminated in pure misery and a visit to Instacare. I’m on day 3 of antibiotics, and spent the majority of Easter weekend asleep in bed. I’m hoping to be feeling good enough to travel to California this week for some time with family and the Social Media Managers World Conference in San Diego next weekend.

The 2013 WLS Awards: Today I found out that I was chosen as the “favorite WLS newbie” in DivaTaunia’s Weight Loss Surgery awards. Thank you to all who voted for me…I’m happy that you have been inspired by me (and felt inclined to vote). Check out the podcast to see which other nominees are rocking the bariatric world.

Swimsuit Season: The weather is warming up, and it’s time to find a swimsuit. For the first time in my life, I’ve actually tried on some 2-piece tankinis. I’m still looking for the right suit, but I’m excited to have SO MANY more options than I did in years past.

April is going to be a busy month, but I’ll try to post on my blog as often as I can. I’ve been trying to test out traveling with and without my laptop. It’s a lot easier to ditch the laptop and bring one less bag with me on the plane…but I can’t do everything I want to on my iPad. After I get back from San Diego, I leave for Type-A Advanced in Philadelphia, where I’ll be speaking on one of the expert panels. Then I’ve got WLSFA in Vegas in May, and FitBloggin’ in Portland in June.


Wordless Wednesday: Monitoring Reactive Hypoglycemia

monitoring reactive hypoglycemia

My ER Visit in Vegas

in the ambulance for hypoglycemiaReactive Hypoglycemia. It’s serious stuff. And when it comes on, you have to stop EVERYTHING and take care of yourself.

I experienced my worst RH crash in Las Vegas earlier this month. I was in Las Vegas for New Media Expo, and was taking advantage of every chance I had to network, party, and enjoy my time in Vegas. Before I had my surgery, I didn’t have a lot of stamina to keep going and going at conferences. I would catch a few speakers, then go back to chill in my room. Go wander the expo halls, then chill in my room.

At NMX, I pushed myself to go ALL DAY LONG.

I partied too hard…which is funny for a girl who didn’t touch a drop of alcohol to say. I made the stupid mistake of staying up for 23 hours to play and party, then only slept for 3 hours. Latent insomina has been killer for me since I returned home from my trip to London, and I have a hard time sleeping in past 5:00 am. Once I was awake, I went to the hotel gym for a workout (since I knew it would be the only chance I would have for the day). Nothing too strenuous because I was tired, but I worked out nonetheless.

I went to a networking breakfast after, but apparently I didn’t eat enough. While I was in Guy Kawasaki’s keynote, I started feeling the evil crash of reactive hypoglycemia. Dizziness, double vision, sweating, and they chills. It was time to eat again – NOW.

I gathered my belongings, and walked to the closest place that had anything edible – the hotel convenience store. I got some Nutter Butter mini-cookies and some peanut butter M&Ms, trying to get a little protein in (with not a lot of great options). I took my snacks to the big padded hallway bench and started munching. But the double vision and dizziness got worse, so I laid down on the bench. A concerned conference-goer saw me and grabbed casino security. Security brought the EMTs over, who had me suck down part of a tube of glucose gel. It’s tough with gastric bypass patients…because not enough sugar will keep you crashing, and too much will make you have dumping syndrome.

waiting in the emergency roomTen minutes after the glucose gel, I wasn’t having much improvement in my symptoms. The EMT’s called the paramedics to give me an evaluation (and to bring a blood glucose monitor). By the time they pricked my finger and checked my blood sugar, it was back up to 90. I was getting frustrated and anxious because I usually feel so much better within 30 minutes of eating, but it wasn’t getting better. The paramedics decided to load me up on the gurney, give me some oxygen, and take me to the ER.

I felt sick enough that I couldn’t walk or form very many coherent sentences….but I was able to use my phone. I had the paramedic take my picture while we were on the way to the hospital, and I Instagrammed it with the #NMX hashtag because all these people at the conference saw the commotion with the EMT’s, but couldn’t communicate with me. Social media was the best way for me to keep people updated on my progress. At the hospital, they took a few vials of blood, gave me an exam, and hooked me up to an IV.

Over the next 3 hours, I spent most of it asleep in my curtained off area in the ER. I wasn’t able to eat or drink while they figured out what was happening, but they sure pumped me through of IV fluids. The emergency staff didn’t know much about gastric bypass patient protocol, let alone reactive hypoglycemia. After finishing my 3rd bag of fluids, I was given a diagnosis of fatigue and severe dehydration. My electrolytes were all out of whack, and my body was shutting down. It’s possible it wasn’t RH that made me feel so sick, but I’m pretty sure it was a factor.

nicole in bed recoveringI was discharged from the hospital with a strongly-worded charge to “take it easy.” Someone telling me to “take it easy” is like speaking Mandarin Chinese- completely unintelligible. I was at a fun conference, for heaven’s sake! My sister drove me back to the Rio from the ER, and while I was there, I wanted to talk to a few people to let them know I was okay. So even though I did walk around the expo, I only stayed about 10% as long as I wanted to. I drove my car back over to my hotel, then crashed for a 2 hour nap. I met up with some friends at Mon Ami Gabi at Paris for dinner, then skipped the official conference party. I spent a little time with some friends at the bar, then got so tired so quickly I had to be walked across the street to my room. I slept like a log that night.

The rest of the conference I drank lots of water, ate more often, took breaks often, avoided walking everywhere, and went back to my room to rest a few times. I didn’t go to every session, nor did I go to every party and activity I was invited to. It was tough to limit myself, but it’s what I had to do.

Next time I’m at a conference, I’ll do better about pacing myself…especially if I’m still dealing with daily RH symptoms.

What Is Reactive Hypoglycemia?

reactive hypoglycemia

How RH makes me feel

Over the past two months, I’ve begun experiencing one of the dreaded after-effects of gastric bypass surgery: reactive hypoglycemia. Most people who are familiar with gastric bypass know about dumping syndrome, but reactive hypoglycemia can be just as painful and uncomfortable.

Reactive Hypoglycemia (RH) is a condition indicating recurrent episodes of hypoglycemia in people who do not have diabetes. Scientists and nutritionists think that RH is a consequence of excessive insulin release triggered by intake of carbohydrates, but the insulin release continues past the digestion phase, and and beyond the disposal of the glucose derived from the meal. According to the NIH, a blood glucose level below 70mg/dL at the time of symptoms, followed by relief after eating, confirms a diagnosis for reactive hypoglycemia.

Reactive Hypoglycemia symptoms include:

  • Double vision or blurry vision
  • Unclear thinking
  • Sleeping Trouble
  • heart palpitation or fibrillation
  • fatigue, depression
  • dizziness, lightheadedness, confusion
  • sweating
  • headaches, tremors, flushing
  • nervousness, irritability, panic attack
  • increased appetite, craving sweets
  • numbness/coldness in the extremities

In severe untreated cases, coma can be a result from RH. It’s serious stuff.

How do you treat RH? By eating. The quickest way to feel better is to eat something that will get your blood sugar up quickly, so sugars and carbohydrates seems to work the best. But having protein and fat will help sustain you so you don’t have another RH episode.

Now, I leave a disclaimer that this is NOT to be taken as medical advice, but I’m sharing what I’ve come up with after tracking my RH episodes and talking to my doctor. I will often have peanut butter and crackers, or some popcorn. Fruit juice usually makes me dump, but a sip or two seems to help me get out of an RH episode. I’ll admit, sometimes I’ll eat junk food when I sense the first symptoms of RH, and being timely is much more important than choosing the exact perfect thing to eat.

I had my first experience with RH in November in England. I was meeting up with a friend in Liverpool one morning, and the restaurant we planned to eat at wasn’t open yet. I nibbled on some turkey jerky, then we walked around Albert Dock for a few hours, then I went to the Beatles Story museum. As soon as I got back in the car, I started getting confused, shaky, weak, and had blurred vision. I knew it was because I hadn’t eaten and I actually blacked out for a few seconds. Eating made me feel better very quickly.
The next RH episode was on Thanksgiving. I had a fairly surgery-friendly dinner (turkey, salad, veggies, sf jello) with one exception – I had a little bit of mashed potatoes and gravy. I’ve been having powdered mashed potatoes for a few months, but mashed real potatoes took me over the edge. I went into dumping mode for about 20 minutes. As soon as the dumping subsided, I laid down and fell asleep immediately. When I woke up, I felt disoriented, my arms and legs were completely numb, and had double vision. When I tried to stand up, I collapsed and started shaking uncontrollably. I got on BBGC and left a message with my symptoms, and everyone agreed it was an RH episode.

I started tracking the symptoms through the next 10 or so episodes, and I realized that there were two common items : I had done a rigorous workout within the past 24 hours, and it had been more than 3 hours since I’d eaten anything. To date, I’ve completely passed out 3 times from RH. Every Sunday in the 3rd hour of church, I’d have RH symptoms, so I began packing crackers, granola bars, and other portable items to eat between classes.

I met with my doctor, showed him my log of RH episodes, and he agreed that it was something I needed to take very proactive control over. His main advice to me, which is not what is part of the typical gastric bypass diet, is to eat more carbs. Eat something a little carby with every meal. Eat carbs and protein before and after working out. Stop exercise at the first sign of fatigue. Be intuitive and listen to my body’s signals.

My weight loss has been slow the past 2 months, but my body is shrinking. I’m down a dress size, but only about 5 pounds from the beginning of January. I’m exercising hard, my muscles are getting more lean and toned, and I am enjoying an active lifestyle. My body is no longer in ketosis, but I’m okay with that. I’d rather have energy, exercise, and eat more carbs, than be lethargic with a carb and exercise restriction.

Now, if I can only get this reactive hypoglycemia under control!

Good Carbs Vs Bad Carbs Infographic

Good Carbs Vs. Bad Carbs

Are carbs good for you or bad for you? The simple answer is there are good carbs and bad carbs. This infographic was created by my coworker Joseph and it gives some helpful information. I love how it turned out so I wanted to share it.

Since I had my gastric bypass, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to carbohydrate counts. Carbs aren’t just in bread, pasta, and rice. They’re in fruit, vegetables, dairy products, and many other edible items. My ideal diet ratio is 70% protein and 30% vegetables, and most simple carbohydrates are to be avoided during the first year after surgery. My body is very sensitive to sugar and foods with a high glycemic index. This infographic is a good reminder for me to be mindful of the carbs I do eat.