Queen of Crop — The Book!

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QUEEN OF CROP is now a book!!

Happy author with book

The happy author in the garden of her Amsterdam home with her first book!

Not long after I had my vertical sleeve surgery in October 2011 and started writing this blog, readers began to tell me that I had the makings of a book. Originally, I intended to write weekly entries for my first year after surgery and then stop. By the time that year was up, I had reached my goal weight, we had moved to Amsterdam, and our wonderful new life here took off at warp speed! I didn’t entirely stop my blogging, but I did slow down. I have written a few blog entries since then, but our life is full and my weight is no longer a major issue in my life, so other interests took priority.

I kept hearing that I should turn my blog into a book, but I figured there were so many weight loss books out there that the world really didn’t need another one. Then when I looked closer I found that there were not that many books on weight loss surgery, despite the fact that the number of surgeries done every year keeps rising exponentially, and certainly not one like my blog, written by someone in her late 50s and with the added element of travel throughout Europe and the U.S., including Hawaii.

And the books I did find were focused on the details of planning, having, and recovering from the surgery. Who should get the surgery, how to get insurance approval, how to prepare for the surgery, vitamins you need after the surgery, recipes for post-surgery meals, problems you might have after the surgery – all very important information but I knew mine was different. I couldn’t find any books that were inspirational, encouraging, and talked about so many beautiful places. And I knew I wanted to share what life was actually like (or could be) once you had the surgery. I wanted to inspire people (especially people in their 40s and 50s) that it wasn’t too late, that this surgery could help transform your life so you could live the life you always imagined.

My wonderful husband who is the ultimate captain!

My wonderful husband who is the ultimate captain!

So I decided it was time to create the book, and I wanted it to include many of the nearly 200 photos from the blog. But I knew I couldn’t do it alone. In fact, I could never have started my blog or turned it into a book without the dedicated help of my husband, who spent as many hours on this project as I did. He is the one that keeps our lives interesting, moving forward into new directions, and is my personal hero. And we owe a big thanks to Alex Brecher of bariatricpal.com, who recommended a talented editor named Kelly Andersson; she worked with us to bring the book to the public.

If you’re new to Queen of Crop, I have left a few blog posts up on this website so you can get a taste of what the book is all about. You can also peek inside the book in the listings on Amazon.com and other bookseller websites.

Queen of Crop coverThe book is available from several online booksellers:

Queen of Crop on CreateSpace (best site to support authors)
Queen of Crop on Amazon.com
Queen of Crop on Amazon.co.uk (Amazon Great Britain)
Queen of Crop on Amazon.de (Amazon Germany)

It will also be available soon on Kindle.

My life since this surgery has been one great big adventure. I have appreciated the support of each of you who have been faithful readers of my blog. And who knows? The way my life is twisting and turning and the new adventures I am having … I may not be done yet!


Today I Choose To Be Happy

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OK, I had a temporary moment of insanity last night. It happens. But I just need to write a post script to last night’s rant because I really should have waited to send it out.

I had a long talk with myself this morning about how I was feeling about my body. I do have moments when I feel (fill in the blank here) too short, too fat, bad hair day, too ugly, too…. But everybody has those days! It’s normal, it’s natural, it’s what we call life!

Most days I choose to love myself and I am happy with the person I am. Even though I wouldn’t mind being a bit younger, I love that I was born in the ’50s in a life unconnected by anything wireless, I lived through the freedom days (and the Beatles!) of the ’60s, bought my first house in the ’70s where I had a $300-a-month mortgage, had good career opportunities and got to work in the first crazy days of the dot-com era, and stopped traveling for work before 9/11. If I were in my 40s I would have been born in the ’70s and missed so much.

I’m fine. As I said, 364 days of the year I am so very very grateful for my life, my health, my marriage, and for having this surgery. If I hadn’t had the surgery and this amazing adventure I would be feeling the way I felt last night every day instead of just one night.

indexLife is good and I am happy again…

Queen of Crop

Will We Ever Love Our Bodies????

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Photo from http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/weight+loss/body+confidence/

This is not me, and I don’t look like this, but I feel like the woman in the mirror! (Photo from bodyandsoul.com.au)

I’m coming to the conclusion that I just will never love my body. No matter how far I have come or how far I will go, the fact is, my body image is ingrained in my brain as much as I know 2 plus 2 equals 4. Sadly, it’s not a good body image, and it seems in some ways it’s gotten worse since I’ve lost weight. I managed to get away with being heavy for many years. Either I was in denial, or I was just living my life and feeling happy with the way I was living it—my career, my friends, my marriage, and yes, even my sex life. I was confident, had lots of good social skills and friends, and my career was pretty good; I was complimented often on my work, promoted regularly, and given more responsibility as the years went on. I knew my husband wasn’t happy with my weight, but as I have mentioned many times, we just didn’t talk about it and I never doubted his love for me.

As the years went on, so did more weight. As my weight ballooned, I couldn’t deny any more that it was affecting my life, but I still managed to be happy even though I tried every possible diet out there—never with any success.

Interesting to note, though, that during the last 10 years of my obese days, I did not own a full-length mirror. I just realized this the other day. I guess I never wanted to see just how bad my weight really was, probably because I felt it was a hopeless cause.

Now I do own several full-length mirrors, and for the most part it’s been fine and even fun. I mean, I’ve lost 85 lbs, I’m not officially overweight, I can wear normal clothes, and I should be so proud and happy, right?

Well at the moment I’m not that happy. I was for the first couple of years. But right now, I not only don’t feel thin, I feel really fat, old, wrinkly, unattractive, and I don’t feel very good about myself in general. It’s been coming on for a few months now. For the first two years after I lost all the weight, I felt like a small person and I even felt a little bit pretty at times. I felt petite, I felt feminine and desirable. Now I just feel like crap, and the insecurities that come along with that can really mess with my mind.

19 Months Post Op – Amsterdam – 60 kilos (134 lbs) – May 2013

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Queen in flowersHallo everyone! I’m baaaaaccccck! I said I would post when I had something really juicy to write about after my first year of weekly posts was up. And now I do have something I think would be of interest so I’m here to share!

Just to recap quickly since it’s been several months since I stopped writing weekly. At 58 years old I had the vertical sleeve surgery; this was the end of October 2011 and I wrote each Sunday until the end of 2012. My highest weight was 223 lbs when we lived in Hawaii; when we retired in 2011 and started traveling for a year, I managed to lose almost 20 lbs but at 5’3″ I was still seriously overweight and my knees, feet and hip were all going haywire on me. If you want to know more, take a look at my ABOUT ME page.

The first year after my surgery was truly an adventure of the mind, the soul, the body and many countries! How many people have this surgery in a foreign country (for me it was Germany) then travel for the next six months? As the weight came off, I logged many miles through many different countries and states in the US as we made our way back to Hawaii to get organized for our move to Amsterdam!

In front of our new home in Amsterdam... yes, that is my bike!

In front of our new home in Amsterdam… yes, that is my bike!

Most of you who have followed my posts from the beginning know that my weight loss journey (as well as my traveling journey) was a positive one and that I told very few people about my surgery. The summary of that first year was that I lost over 85 lbs, reaching my goal weight of the mid-130s at about one year after surgery, and I have maintained that weight for the last nine months. Right about that time, we moved from Hawaii to Europe, bought a house in Amsterdam, and spent the winter moving in and getting settled in our new home. The best parts, though, were that not only did I drop the weight, my health issues went away and my husband and I became closer than we had ever been. Life indeed has been great and we love living here and enjoying our retirement and each other!

15 months Post-Op – Amsterdam – 61 kilos – January 2013

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Beautiful Vondelpark in the snow.

Beautiful Vondelpark in the snow.

HELLO EVERYONE! I wrote my last weekly post at the end of 2012 and then was amazed at how many new readers signed up for my blog when I announced I was no longer going to write weekly. So I thought I would pop in at the end of each month with an update on post-op sleeve life, which is a lot different than life the first year after surgery. I’ve really enjoyed the first real winter here in Amsterdam (and first real winter in all my 59 years!)… the snow has been beautiful and I’ve managed to learn how to dress to stay warm.

But as I start the new year in a new country and a new climate, this is how I’m affected by my post-surgery life:

  • My ‘New’ Normal
  • Breast lift is on the horizon
  • Looking for interesting stories
Our lunch every day is a salad...this is lunch in our new house with no furniture yet...note the cut out on the floor where the baby grand piano will go!

Our lunch every day is a salad… this is lunch in our new house with very little furniture yet!

MY NEW NORMAL: I have to say that, for me anyway, it really took a year, maybe even 14 months, to feel fully healed from the surgery. I can’t say that I truly enjoyed eating much for the first year, but it didn’t bother me, either, because the trade-off was so huge. Now, 15 months post-op, I have a pretty good routine down. There isn’t anything I can’t eat; even pasta and rice are fine. When I do have either, it’s just a few bites and I’m satisfied. I never thought I would ‘crave’ protein, but I can tell when I need it. I eat an egg for breakfast 2-3 times a week, often with a piece of toast and a couple pieces of bacon. Other days, I just have some yogurt with a little granola on top or some cheese and a cracker. I always eat a half an apple on my way home from the gym. But of course every morning starts off with coffee and cream!