The Magic of Touch on a Winter Afternoon

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A lovely winter afternoon experiencing the Magic of Touch

A lovely winter afternoon experiencing the Magic of Touch.

I looked across the softly lit living room of our Amsterdam apartment, transformed by candles, flowers, and tapestry-covered yoga mats into an elegant, sensual Tantra studio, where our Tantra Afternoon of meditation and sensual exercises was concluding with five blindfolded men on mats being lovingly and erotically touched by five beautiful women. I could never have imagined this scene a few years ago when this way of life was not in our world. But now that Tantra and the fascinating people we have found through Tantra have come into our lives, it felt entirely familiar and comforting.

Our afternoon was filled with six men and five women, a total of eleven beautiful people, together with music, atmosphere, openness, and sharing. It was a feast for all our senses: sight, smell, taste, sound, and most importantly touch.

If you have read this far, then you can already tell this is not going to be a post about weight loss, body issues, or protein shakes. This is a Year Three Post-Sleeve story about how I am now living my life—in large part because of the sleeve! It is an alternative life, I know it is not for everyone, and I don’t expect everyone to agree with my choices. But I love the fact that I now have choices I didn’t have before. I share this on Queen of Crop only to inspire others to be brave enough to “color outside the lines” and do something bold and different once in a while if you believe it will enhance the quality of your life. For those of you who might be concerned, I will tell you up front not to worry; I have not written anything about sex or drugs (or rock-and-roll). I have written very respectfully about how important it is that we keep ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally fulfilled. For those of you who currently do not have any or enough touch in your lives, this is one path.

I hope you will take the time to read this.

First, the cast of characters:

My husband, H, and me. H and I have been together for 28 years and married for 23, mostly monogamous but always sexually curious. Met and lived in San Francisco and later lived in Hawaii for 10 years. Two-and-a-half years ago (after I had lost over 80 lbs and was at goal weight) we moved to Amsterdam, discovered Tantra, began meeting fascinating, like-minded people, and our lives took off in a new direction.

Eve. Eve is Austrian and over the past two years (in her early 50s) she reinvented herself, something I think we all should do from time to time. Life can be so interesting… if you think your life can’t change, think again! It did for her and it did for us, and you never know what could be around your next corner! After living in a touchless, sexless marriage for many years, Eve began a journey that led her to embrace touch as critical to her own well-being and with a healing power essential to both physical and emotional health. She has dedicated herself to touch and Tantra and to sharing what she has learned with everyone in need of touch to help them heal and stay healthy. She is a close friend and has come to help us as the leader of the afternoon.

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

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

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.

Year Three of the Sleeve

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Before and after passport photos

Two passport photos, the one on the left was taken in Oct 2011, the one on the right, Oct 2012!

There are not a lot of us veterans of the sleeve gastrectomy—as far as I can tell, it started being performed on a small number of patients as a solution to weight loss on its own (instead of a first step to the gastric bypass)  in 2005. The success rate was relatively high for these patients so this option became a better solution for patients with a BMI of 40 or less, with the gastric bypass reserved for those who had a BMI of over 40.

YEAR ONE: I am now 3 years and 4 months out from my sleeve and I can tell you, Year One is truly the honeymoon period for weight loss. Of course you don’t enjoy food very much, you are healing from a major surgery, and your new tummy is pretty damn picky about what you put into it. You’re tired in the beginning and you throw up a bit, but you’re not hungry (if you are, it’s most likely head hunger) and you are living in a new world of how you look at food. But the trade-off is that for the first time in your (most likely many) weight loss attempts, this one is working! The pounds start melting off, a lot at first and then it goes into a slow but steady path, then you might hit a stall for a bit, but by that time you’re like “Woohoo!!! Look at me!!!” You’re wearing skinny jeans and going to the gym, and shopping for new clothes and getting complimented all the time. Looking back on that first year it was such a weird but fantastic time! And for me, at least, I never felt like it was a diet. I never felt deprived. I felt joy.

I was looking back at my first-year blog and at one point I wrote the top ten things that I did not like about the sleeve. Here they are with an update next to each one:

  1. I miss pasta, garlic bread, and wine. I can eat all of these now; I choose not to eat much pasta anymore, but I could if I wanted. I just don’t. Nice.
  2. Cooking isn’t as satisfying as it used to be and I throw more food away, which I feel bad about. My only problem with cooking now (which I enjoy) is that I sometimes nibble while I’m cooking. Must stop that. And I don’t throw much away at all anymore. So this one is also not a problem at Year 3.
  3. Feeling sick or even throwing up if I have OBTM (one bite too many) or if I eat something my stomach doesn’t like, as in one teeny grain of rice! I now know what I can tolerate and what I cannot. But there is very little I can’t and if I do feel a little sick, it’s my own damn fault for eating too much or too fast!
  4. My boobs are pitiful. Not any more!!! I have nicer breasts now than I did when I was 22! (My breast reduction in Year 2 was great!)
  5. My scars are still there so no bikinis for me! No more scars! Gone!
  6. My knees and hip still hurt (not as much, but the pain is not gone). No more knee pain, but I have arthritis in my hip so nothing I can do about that one.
  7. I don’t like it when people ask me how much weight I’ve lost. No one asks any more. First, I live in another country, but seriously, at three years out, it’s old news.
  8. I feel a little funny when I tell people how I lost the weight. Never comes up anymore.
  9. Taking my vitamins every day is tricky. Easy now.
  10. Going out to eat and seeing so much good food on other people’s plates, knowing I will eat just a few bites of something much less exciting and I won’t enjoy my meal as much as others do. A complete non-issue at this point. We enjoy going out to a nice meal, we often share or sometimes we just have appetizers. It truly is not about the food any more, but the enjoyment of going out.

So as you can see, even the worst parts of YEAR ONE were not so bad and they all essentially don’t even exist anymore!

My Perfect 5:2 Fast Day

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Called Flat Tummy Water, tastes great and looks nice too!

Called Flat Tummy Water, tastes great and looks nice too!

I’m so excited! I am finally back on track with my 5:2 Fast Days and today was a Perfect 5:2 coming in at a very decent 501 calories! It feels great to accomplish this since I have been on the “FFA” eating plan since Christmas. You all know that one—it’s the one we were all on (in between all the actual diets we tried and failed at) before we were sleeved. FFA? Free For All! Meaning we just ate what we wanted when we wanted. Some of us had real issues with food, others (like me) always felt I was eating somewhat “normally.” But what’s normal for one person isn’t normal for others—pity it took me so long to learn that one.

So, what does a Perfect 5:2 Fast Day look like? Here it is:

7 am: Fixed a cup of tea instead of coffee so I didn’t have to count the milk. It was just fine even though I love my coffee.

Calories: 0

9 am: Went to the gym. Didn’t want to go but made myself, and like always, once I get there I like it. When I don’t want to go I tell myself I will just go for 20 minutes, because I know I will stay once I get my butt in the door. Right now I am doing 20 minutes on the rowing machine, then strength training on various machines or the floor for about 30 minutes, then 20 minutes on the bike, all the time listening to music on my iPhone.

Genepro protein powder.

Genepro protein powder.

11 am: Fixed a protein smoothie and drank half of it. From a recommendation on the forum, I am now using Genepro. It is completely (and I mean completely) tasteless and has 30 grams of protein in each tablespoon. I use fresh (but I freeze them) raspberries, blackberries, grapes (about 15 each), half a banana, and some drinkable yogurt. The protein powder itself has 90 calories.

Calories: 123

Lunch!  Miso soup, corn crackers, and a soft-boiled egg.

Lunch! Miso soup, corn crackers, and a soft-boiled egg.




1:30 pm: Lunch. I had a bowl of miso soup, two corn crackers (love those guys!), and a soft-boiled egg.

Calories: 120