Category Archives: health

The Weirdest Soup I Ever Made: A White Girl Tries Traditional Chinese Medicine

Since the tender age of 9 I have been cursed with bad skin. Zits, pimples, cystic acne, rosacea, whatever you want to call it, I’ve got pizza-face and have been struggling with it for years.

I have seen all the western style doctors and tried countless remedies from creams & gels, antibiotics, hormones from The Pill, dairy elimination diets all the way up to the Big Daddy of acne: Accutane.

All with no luck. It seems like no lifestyle change or pharmaceutical I use can help me with my skin. I’ve tried the natural, gentle route and the harsh, warfare route with minimal results. I started looking for other ways that I could help my skin. I feel like it’s a symptom of something wrong inside me, so using creams never made sense to me. No surprise that they didn’t work. Your skin is the biggest organ in your body and can tell you lots of things because it is an exit point for things like toxins, sweat, etc.

I’ve been going to a local acupuncture clinic here lately. In part to support a local small business owner, but also to see what it’s all about and try to do something good for myself. They have a Chinese herbalist there now. I had been thinking of trying TCM for a while but didn’t know where to start. This seemed like a good enough place, since I trusted the operator of the clinic.

I had my first appointment last week and it was a surreal experience for me. I’m fairly comfortable in doctor’s offices and medical settings. My mom is a nurse and I’ve always been interested in this kind of stuff. But this was different. Oh, so very different.

I really felt out of my element here, more than I have felt in a very long time. I had to fill out a form with any complaints I had. It was the beginning of the odyssey into a world unknown.

Entering the Twilight Zone

It was all just so foreign. The English was broken and incorrect and hard to understand. Do I have Hot Flesh (as in warm skin) or do I have Hot Flashes? Are either important? How do I know if my tongue is too purple? How do I know if my poop smells right or if my menstrual blood is the right colour? Is this what Chinese people just know about themselves when they see their doctors, the way I know about my B12 deficiency or if I have high blood pressure?

Do you go to the doctor if your poop is too soft and your breath is smelly? I have no idea!

So this really threw me off, I didn’t even know how to fill in the form correctly. The doctor was trying valiantly to help me understand but language was definitely a barrier.

We were crammed into a tiny little closet space filled with mysterious boxes, and a hand-knit bag taking up much of the floorspace. It was overflowing with bagged herbs the doctor had just acquired. The room wasn’t intimidating, but the whole experience for me was just very foreign, from the set-up, the boxes, and the herbal smell in the tiny space. I really felt transported to a different place.

The doctor began asking me questions about… you guessed it! My poop, my period, my exercise and eating habits and more. Our conversation was a bit stilted as I struggled to understand exactly what she was asking, and to provide her the correct answer. After a while I started to wonder what the hell I was doing there.

She was nice, but very straightforward pointing out several times that I am overweight. Duh. I tried to explain to her that I have tried everything, including surgery to lose the weight. Finally she got the point when I told her all the women in my family were fat too; she chalked it up to genetics. It’s so interesting to see what is of value in different medical systems. After that she didn’t harp on me anymore and we were able to move on.

The Diagnosis

So apparently there is a bunch of stuff wrong with me, but she’s going to try and fix me from within. She says my symptoms of bad skin, depression, low energy and excess heat are caused by some toxins within my body. I like the philosophy of treating & fixing the issue directly rather than just the symptoms as is so often done in western medicine.

I don’t know what this will be like; basically cleaning out my innards so that they can rebuild themselves correctly. But it feels kind of right (haha ask me how I feel about this statement in a month!). I sincerely believe that my skin issues are not caused by something in my skin, I think they come from somewhere deeper. I hope this doctor can help me out.

I don’t claim to understand half of this, and I probably interpreted what she said incorrectly, but this is what I learned:

  • My liver needs some help
  • I am full of “damp heat” which is very toxic
  • My kidneys need help/ to be de-toxed
  • She’s very concerned that I don’t get a period because I am on Alesse. Personally I don’t have an issue with this but it really meant something to the doctor that I wasn’t bleeding every month
  • Most of my issues are intertwined and have to do with toxins in my body and my hormones being unbalanced

She seemed very confident that she could help me though. I’m not sure how long this will take, I either didn’t understand what she told me or she didn’t tell me at all. Now for the fun part:

Oh my god, the herbs

SO MANY. SO UNKNOWN.

I am daunted greatly by the 2 full shopping bags of herbs the doctor is filling for me. She’s just going through her mystery boxes and drawers in the little room and tossing little packages and large packages of herbs and barks onto the little table.

Nothing is labelled, only a few are weighed. I assume most of this is pre-packed since she seems to know what she is doing. She proudly tells me she worked for 40 years in a Chinese hospital doing this. Also that the medicine is going to taste awful. I am becoming increasingly stunned by the volume of herbs she is giving me.

This is where my own ignorance comes into play. I am so stunned because for some reason I thought this would be like in the movies where the gnarled old Chinese man at the shop gives you some bags of tea to use. I didn’t know I’d be taking a whole forest home with me! I don’t even know what these things are and the doctor can’t tell me their English names, either.

Talk about a leap of faith.

This treasure trove of magical flora (hopefully no fauna? Please let there be no fauna…) is 3 grocery bags full now and is only 1 month’s worth of stuff. With her consult it comes to $150. Evidently this is a good price as just a consult with a naturopath is upwards of $125.

I walk out of the office stunned, a little scared and totally overwhelmed. I have trouble fitting all of it into my scooter. I can’t even think of cooking them that day, a process which takes around 5 hours according to the doc. I’ve never had to prepare my own medicine before and I’m a little nervous.

While I trust this woman and her techniques, the differences are just so great from what I am accustomed to that I am having trouble processing everything. Here I am, thinking that I am a worldly person and open to new things… I’m a bit shocked at my own reaction to this. I can only hope that this becomes less foreign and strange to me as I go along.

I also hope this works.

Life With Slimband: Impending Rant

Ugh. It’s some godforsaken hour in the morning of Christmas Eve/Day and I can’t sleep.

No, I’m not excited for Santa Claus to bring me a pony or a pair of moon shoes.

Rather I am so pissed off with my current situation with Slimband that I can’t sleep and have composed an angry rant instead.

For a list of all other Slimband related posts, please click here

I’m getting fat again and am not impressed***. I have spent 2 years and over $16,000 trying to lose weight and have only had middling success. Every other day I get an email or a comment on this blog about others in the same position and it makes me so angry that Slimband as a company doesn’t care about what happens with their patients after the wounds heal.

Oh, there are some individuals in the company that may care. I have met them. Slimband discovered how much traffic I get for my articles on having the band that both they and competing clinic CIBO approached me about it. Both tried to buy me off; as some kind of damage control, I suppose. Personally I think that was a silly idea. It’s better to get me on board and on your side and use my expertise to help fix things, than just to get me to shut up. I am a mouthpiece for the people, y’all.

I thought I was getting somewhere with Slimband. They told me about a new program they are hoping to get in place for post-op patients. There were a few little parts to it that sounded promising. But overall it sounds like they still have no clue on how to do it right and fix their reputation.

That’s right, my Slimband friends. Despite your best efforts, you have a shit reputation that will continue to get worse if you don’t take some fast actions and fess up to your mistakes. Some in your company have recognized this and sought my assistance with the situation. Did you know that I have a stellar marketing and advertising background, and specialize in social media? (Duh, I write this blog and stole your Google search rank, didn’t I?) I am an outspoken fattie and made some great suggestions as to how you can develop a truly helpful post op program for patients like me. For whatever reason, the powers that be in your company nixed that idea.

And now me, and my fellow fatties are back at square one. Stranded, abandoned and not sure whether our lack of steady weight loss is our fault or Slimband’s fault. At this point I’m going to lay most of the blame on Slimband because they have thus far chosen to turn a blind eye to our plight. Which from a social media, word of mouth and PR perspective is a dangerous thing. We’re definitely more numerous than the patients that have reached their goal weight.

Want to know what my suggestions for the company were? Since I created them based on knowledge and assumptions readily available to the public, and used my expertise as a marketing consultant to craft them, they are MINE TO SHARE. You saw them here first, folks.

Weight Loss System, not just an installation of a plastic chunk

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a decent post-op program that was part of the Slimband system? I don’t even know who to talk to when I have a problem. No check ups from the company who sells you based on their 4 years of support. I recommend (and as far as I know individuals working at Slimband agree) that I come on board and help evaluate this program they want to get going. Ashamed of our inability to lose weight, many of us don’t speak up and tell Slimband what works, what doesn’t and what we need more of. I can do that. I can be your voice and help develop a kickass program to help you reach your goals.

OMG! Someone that cares and can help you! You’re not alone!

Wouldn’t it be cool to know that there is someone out there just like you, who isn’t afraid to share her story and strive for success in weight loss? I recommended myself as the Patient Champion. The person that you can contact if you don’t know where to start, and the person who cares about your plight and will get you the help you need. It’s all there, the company just doesn’t know how to pull it all together. I do. And I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that can actually get shit done the right way. Because I’m REAL and not drinking the gastric band koolaid. I won’t stand for anything less than happy customers.

Hell, none of these companies seem to know how to do this shit. Imagine if they actually had it all together the success they would achieve! It seems obvious to me, but then again I’m just a dumb little fattie who is $16k poorer.

Let it all hang out

Ok, screw this. Here’s the damn document I went out of my way to prepare for the folks at Slimband. It was their idea to get me on board and involved in the first place, by the way. All the info is based on the emails readers have sent me, my own experiences, anecdotal information gathered from online forums and other public online sources. Again, I am a marketing professional so I have some of my own insights to share. None of this is private or confidential, since I wasn’t given anything to go with. I could write something like this for any company. Fuckin’ Marketing 101 here, folks.

Please note that if you’re thinking of just stealing my ideas and trying to do it yourselves for whatever clinic you work for… well, go ahead. But you won’t do it as well as I would, and in the end you’ll probably fail again and end up with another herd of upset patients. But hey, if it works, all the more power to ya. I hope you can help me lose the last 80 fucking pounds I have to go.

Challenges

Poor Brand Image

Slimband is perceived by many as lacking warmth, caring and the human element. Anecdotally, many clients feel the following:

  • Abandoned after the procedure was completed. Post-op care was not as expected. “Slimband just wanted my money & doesn’t care about me”.
  • Unhappy with their weight loss results, experiencing minimal loss, or a plateau
  • Confused about the post-op process, ongoing support system and who to reach out to if they need help

These feelings toward the company may result in negative PR/Word Of Mouth, or no Word of Mouth where there might have been some if the client felt valued. Further research is recommended.

 Post-Op Program/Education

Older clients do not know what the band does and how it works. Now that the North American medical community has a better understanding of the most effective way to use the band; It is critical that patients receive a more accurate description of the band so that they can properly utilize it. (Ed. note, Slimband is aware of this also and all new patients receive the updated information. But I’m an older patient so I didn’t know until recently and was totally confused. But now I understand things better. All other North American clinics will or should inform their past patients of this new development).

This should be handled in a delicate manner; many clients may feel deceived, confused, upset, etc. by the news despite it being helpful & informative.

Additionally, the new support program should be introduced in a friendly way, and targeted to existing clients that have not experienced full success with their band.

A case study or “poster girl” for this situation would help bring some warmth back into the company, help clients relate, and be a good point of contact for clients.

How May I Help You?

Post-Op Program Consultant

As a current client and influencer/blogger, I have no trouble sharing my thoughts on the effectiveness and accessibility of a post-op support program. My experiences thus far, combined with my insight into the bandster community and my communications expertise can help Slimband create and/or refine their support system to a best-in-class program for existing and future clients.

As I myself go through the process to “get back on track” I can take notes, make suggestions and give quality feedback to Slimband professionals on the best way to approach existing clients and implement the new program of personalized medicine with each individual.

Patient Champion

As discussed previously, a friendly face for the post-op program may be just what the doctor ordered.

I am willing to have my journey through the post-op support program documented and shared with the patient community. This would be a spokesperson role, with or without patient interaction (TBD).

Known for my unbiased and straightforward manner, I can reach out to the clients who feel lost and help them get on track, while being an inspiration and encouraging trust. I would help inject some warmth back into the Slimband image.

Here are some additional ideas and thoughts on this potential role:

  • I have a marketing and customer service background
  •  Currently the exact type of client you need to assist and help satisfy
    Unique insights
  • Outgoing, positive, honest, warm and charismatic, many people trust me and will open up to me
  • My role could function as a spokesperson for the second stage of Slimband, and/or:
  • Gatekeeper/General community outreach
  • Address any concerns that bandsters have & direct them to the right resources
  • Gathering information & insights from clients, conducting surveys, focus groups, coffee meetings
  • Contribute articles & participate in online community
  •  Help Slimband provide a full weight loss program, and not just the surgery

 ***Disclosure:

The folks at Slimand are trying to help me, as a patient but are doing a very poor job of it so far which is why I’m so darn upset. I got my band de-filled, but now I’m not getting enough follow up or any of the other fancy post op support options they were promising me when we still thought I would be helping the company. I feel totally abandoned again and have no idea what to do or who to talk with to get this band shit figured out! So frustrating! My dietician is trying her best, but she seems limited in her abilities to assist me in my journey. And I’m gaining weight. This make me PISSED TO THE EXTREME.

Additionally, I AM trying to get a job with Slimband. The kind where I get paid real money because I provide real services and results. Despite the vitriol and frustration I have just unloaded, I think that if they just brought me on board, let me figure out where they’re going wrong, how to fix it, and then DO IT they could be a great company and be able to help so many people, past, present and future. A company with a good reputation is going to do very, very well in today’s social media world and bring in the big bucks. I’m trying to balance my desire to fix something broken and make it succeed with my desire to help all those past patients like me that don’t realize that THEY DESERVE BETTER.

Disclaimer: This is my personal online journal. I am not trying to sully the reputation of a company, but rather express my frustrations and personal experiences with said company. And hope that they listen to me and talk to me before getting lawyered up or anything because I think we could be beautiful together.

SLIMBAND: I BELIEVE IN YOU! MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE AND EMBRACE CHANGE! I know you can become a great, national company that does right by its’ patients. You just need a little help, is all. Call me.

READERS: I think they should hire me to get things going. Do you? Please show your support in the comments below or you can contact Slimband directly and tell them you want me (Lisa M) to help them help you. Because if you’re happy you’ll recommend the procedure to your friends. If Slimband becomes as awesome as I think they can be, then everyone is happy and new patients and money will flow in. Yay for fitting in your skinny jeans!

Slimband update: 2 years later

This has been on my mind quite a lot lately. Weight loss, getting healthy, getting happy. The emails keep coming in from readers regarding my lap-band procedure. I’m currently in talks with a different clinic for some additional post-op care (yes it’s been 2 years but I still need help!) and I wanted to review my past posts, emails and comments about the process before I sign anything.

For a list of all other Slimband related posts, please click here

Here are some of my previous posts on the subject, and the comments are oh so juicy! The most recent posts are at the top.

Slimband Update: 7 weeks in
Reader Question: Life with Slimband?

The Most Heavenly Coffee: Recovering with Slimband

One day left…

Coming Soon: A New Me

I also wanted to post some of the questions that I get emailed to me (and my answers) in the hopes that this is helpful for anyone who is looking for some answers and perspectives from someone in my position.

Ginger,

I’m thinking of booking a consult for this after four years of thinking about it.  Now that you’re sort of healed up from your surgery, how are your days?  Do you really think of food less or turn to it less when you’re upset?

7/28/2011 – No, my thinking and feelings towards food really haven’t changed that much since the surgery. In fact things are going much slower than I thought they would. I think I need another fill to get to the right restriction, but I can still eat any kind of food I want, just less of it. I am also struggling with a unique situation… I am not eating ENOUGH food throughout the day, which is hindering my progress. Sometimes that can happen with the band.

However what they don’t tell you is that the Slimband is secretly a diet. If you don’t eat your boring chicken breast and cottage cheese and exercise daily, you won’t really lose much. That’s what I’m encountering.

I eat similarly to how I did before surgery. It’s not perfectly healthy but it’s not junk food all the time either. I’m down about 12lbs. since December. I am also struggling with a unique situation… I am not eating ENOUGH food throughout the day, which is hindering my progress. Sometimes that can happen with the band.

What I would suggest is that you go and get your consult since you don’t have to sign anything there. Just keep in mind that the band is not a miracle. If you don’t eat your rabbit food and exercise you won’t lose the weight. If you do, then it will come off faster. Only you can decide if something like this is right for you.

At this point I am not certain whether I would recommend this procedure or not. I need to check in with Slimband and see if they can help me some more. For now I remain neutral.

Hope this helps and feel free to ask more questions.

—————

Hi Ginger,

I found your blog via google when looking up gastric banding surgery. I am considering getting banded at slimband. I noticed you haven’t wrote about your experience past week 7. I was wondering how you were feeling one year + after surgery. Would you do it again?

I am about your age and would be paying for the surgery myself, so I am trying to get as much research done before signing the checks!

Thanks,

KM

16/05/2012 – Thanks for writing in. I definitely encourage doing your research! It is a HUGE decision to make!

I have mixed emotions about my surgery. I am currently down only 30lbs since the surgery which is a bit disappointing. On the other hand, the weight is staying off and slowly coming off, and I also wasn’t following their eating directions. I assume that if you actually do what they suggest, your weight will come off quicker.

One thing I have also pondered is that having the band wasn’t really a massive change to my eating anyway. I was already eating small portions and trying to eat frequently and healthfully throughout the day. Having the band didn’t make a big difference.

However, a friend that I met through Slimband had pretty bad habits before the band. She could eat enough for 4 people at each meal and had an addiction to wine and coca-cola. Now she can’t drink fizzy things nor eat as much as she used to, so she dropped 100lbs in a little over 3 months. One more variable to confuse you even more is that when they did the surgery they found she had a perforated stomach (or something) that was allowing her to eat that much. When they fixed it, I think that played a large role in her weight loss as well.

I don’t really know if I would get this done again. I think my food issues are a lot bigger than I originally thought, and even a band isn’t going to solve them. Keep this in mind when you get the surgery. The band is only a tool. If you don’t work with it and change your lifestyle, it may not be as effective as you hope.

Now I am trying to refocus my efforts on getting healthy. I have reached the sweet spot on the band and am working with a personal trainer/food coach (she is awesome, let me know if you want her details. She’s lost 80lbs the hard way!) and also doing yoga so I hope to jumpstart things again.

I think eventually I’ll reach my goal weight, but its still going to take a long time!

Hope this helps & let me know if you have other questions.

Ginger –
Thanks so much for writing me back – your timing was great as I have decided to go through with the procedure and I am dropping off (gulp!) the check today.
I had have just moved to Toronto from the states and had been seeing a medical doctor for help with weight loss who was amazing – with his help, I had lost about 25 lbs over two years, but since I have been back in Toronto (10 months) I have gained 20 lbs back.  Seeing how dramatically my weight has increased without the medication has made me think that I need a more permanent solution – hence Slimband.
I am doing my best to go in to the procedure with my eyes wide open, but I am concerned that I am going to spend ALL THIS MONEY and then end up up in the same place.  I have never been able to eat for nutrition sake only, so I am hopeful if the band is in place, I won’t be as hungry and therefore won’t eat so much.  I would like to lose about 30 lbs (that would take me to a BMI of 26), and it seems like so much money for 30 lbs, but I do not think I will ever to be able to maintain that weight loss without help.
It is also difficult to get feedback from the message groups.  It seems as if everyone LOVES their band or HATES it.  It was good to get  a little perspective from you.  It is hard to trust the slimband people as it is a business to them.
Thanks again, and if you have any more thoughts, please feel free to send them my way!
KM
—————-

Product Review: Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste + Advice

I haven’t received any new or noteworthy products lately, so I’m reviewing an oldie, but a goodie!

Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste (in any variation)

Now, in my books, any toothpaste is a good toothpaste. Years of working at a dental office and being curious have taught me loads about dental care and health and how frickin’ easy it is to keep your mouth healthy.

It’s actually the brushing and rinsing action that does the bulk of the cleaning when you do your teeth, but having a nice toothpaste helps by adding fluoride, facilitating the cleaning action and helping to protect your teeth against sensitivity and other nasties (that’s the unscientific explanation, yo).

This particular toothpaste has a slew of benefits (which are all available in other products too, fyi) but what I really like about it is the grit that is included in the paste.

It’s kind of weird and gross at first… it feels a lot like the polishing paste dentists use on you at your visit. But it sure does get your teeth clean! And I was surprised to find that even after regular use, the grit did not further irritate my sensitive teeth. In fact my sensitivity has decreased since using it.

The reason I have decided to continue purchasing this particular toothpaste is because of the results it gave me (when combined with regular dental care).

For my last two dental appointments, the hygienists said they had nothing to do. Meaning that there was almost no plaque build-up on my teeth and that everything was hunky-dory. The dentist agreed, and asked me what I had been doing.

“I just brush and floss regularly!” I said.

This speaks volumes in favour of this toothpaste. It was the only thing that had changed in my routine and suddenly I was seeing amazing results.

Here’s a recap of the benefits I experienced:

  • Really nice, clean feeling after brushing
  • Reduced plaque build-up (which meant no cavities or gingivitis)
  • Reduced tooth sensitivity
  • Whiter teeth
  • Dentist charging me $200 for a tooth-cleaning I didn’t need oh whoops, I guess that’s not a benefit!
  • Knowing that including this in my regular routine will allow me to increase the time between dentist visits (only do this with blessings from your dentist, everyone needs a different level of care)

Ginger’s Dental Advice

I’m not a dental professional, but here are some uber-simple things that you can do to keep your mouth healthy, and why you should do those things.

Brush in the morning AND at night

Everyone knows it’s good to brush in the morning to get rid of dragon’s breath. But did you know it’s almost more important to brush at night?

At night, your mouth turns into a pit of despair filled with acids and bacteria that are up to no good. If you sleep with your mouth open, these acids and bacteria dry out and stick to your teeth like glue which can cause cavities, inflammation (gingivitis) and more.

If you clean your mouth out before bed you’re not giving the nasties a chance to accumulate and sit around your teeth for as long. You’ll still wake up with rank breath, but hopefully one less cavity or soft spot.

Mouthwashes give a little extra oompf but are optional

That covers it…

Floss regularly, too

No matter how awesome your toothbrush is, nor how vigorously you swish that mouthwash, you’re not going to dislodge the ick from the nooks and crannies of your teeth.

This is where flossing comes in. By flossing regularly, you’re able to clean between the teeth and below the gum line (where grossness likes to lurk the most!) and scrape out the garbage that hangs out there. And maybe dislodge that popcorn seed shell that’s been stuck in your molar since last Friday.

“Oh Ginger!” you whine, “It hurts when I floss and my gums bleed! I don’t wanna…” To this I say: Suck it up, buttercup. Your teeth and gums hurt and bleed because you’re not flossing! Deal with it for a few days and the swelling will go down and it will become easier to floss. Trust me, I started out the same way.

The dentist always used to tell me I needed to floss more, but I just sort of shrugged it off. But once I started it I noticed what a difference it really made! I had no idea that such a small step could not only improve my dental health so much, but also save me money!

Benefits of Good Dental Health

I think you all vaguely know that having healthy teeth is good. But WHY is it so important?

Health!

Duh. Less cavities, less tooth sensitivity, blah blah blah. But did you know that the human mouth is dirtier than a dog’s? And did you know that the teeth are the only hard bodily substance (aka BONES) that stick outside of your flesh? This means they have a direct route into the body from the outside world. If you don’t take care of your mouth you are asking for health troubles.

Poor dental health can lead to all kinds of diseases including cancers and periodontal disease. It’s not just about losing your teeth anymore–you can lose your life.

Looks

It pays to take care of your teeth. Fresher breath, naturally white teeth, no signs of decay. Tell me you don’t look for that when you go to kiss someone! Disgusting teeth are a huge turnoff for me.

Money

By performing everyday maintenance of your teeth (brushing & flossing) you can prevent SO MUCH damage!

Here are some observations from when I worked at a dental office.

People would come in and be flabbergasted by the amount of additional work they would need to get done (after not coming in for 5 years or more!) and would wonder why they have such high dental bills for all this work.

I’ll tell you why.

I don’t care if you don’t have the money or are afraid of the dentist. You’re probably afraid because its always painful and costs a lot, yeah? Well it’s because you don’t take care of your teeth! If you just brushed and flossed regularly, going to the dentist would be a hell of a lot cheaper and comfortable! Buying floss, a brush and toothpaste costs less than $10 and is something everyone can afford.

If you have a good dental regimen, you don’t have to worry about getting root canals, crowns, extreme scaling, additional fluoride or polishing treatments. Your cleaning appointments can be scaled back so you don’t come in as often.

Crowns cost upwards of $1000, and root canals are pricey, too. No one wants to get them done, but they don’t bother taking preventative measures either. Personal beef of mine.

It’s so easy to avoid painful and expensive dental treatments, my friends.

Just take care of your mouth!

 

I have some crazy memories from the dental office… we would have file photos of some really awful teeth (nightmares, really) and every time I skipped brushing one of those scary images would flash through my head.

So anyway, brush, floss and see your dentist regularly! Or you may end up with a mouth like this:

This is actually meth mouth, but shows you what can happen! This person was at risk for cancer

Product Rant of the Day: Lysol No-Touch™ Hand Soap System

I talk a lot about the products I like on this blog, but here is one that I don’t like!


LYSOL® Healthy Touch® No-Touch™ Hand Soap System

So what’s my beef with something that is supposed to help you maintain clean and healthy hands?

It’s simple: Redundancy.

You just don’t NEED this product.

The Lysol marketing pitch is that this product:

  • Automatically senses your hands
  • Dispenses the perfect amount of soap
  • Provides antibacterial protection!!!!eleventyonee111!!

So that “you and your family will never have to touch a germy soap pump again.”

Pshaw. This is ridiculous.

 

First of all, the damn system takes FOUR AA batteries. They’re hard to install (yes, I actually set this stupid thing up and used it) and the sensor is a piece of crap. It’s really not as user-friendly as they claim. Multiple times I tried to get it to work, and when it finally did, it really wasn’t as cool as I thought it would be.

Second, it dispenses WAY TOO MUCH SOAP into your hands! So much was wasted down the drain, I felt guilty for trying to be clean! We’re talking gobs here, people. And there was no way to adjust how much was dispensed. We went through the soap refill container lickety-split, when normally a container of that size would last much longer. This wastage is not only bad for your wallet, but doubly-bad for the environment. The packaging was also way more than was necessary.

Third, it’s antibacterial soap. Unless you work in a hospital or doctor’s office there is NO NEED for antibacterial products. Proper hand washing with soap and warm water completes the job just as well without the harmful effects of triclosan and other antibacterial chemicals on your body and the environment. Read about the problems with antibacterial products/additives here.

Finally, it doesn’t matter if the damn soap dispenser is dirty! You’re going to be washing your hands anyway! Holy fear-mongering, Batman!

 

Overall I am disgusted by this money-grab of a product. They’re washing it with feel-good messages about protecting your family’s health, when it is anything but.

Expensive, hard to set up, redundant, requires batteries, extra soap refills, bad for the body and environment and overly wasteful in design, function and packaging!

This is one fancy gadget we ought to avoid.

/end rant

Slimband Update: 7 Weeks In

Update: You can find all weight loss/Slimband-related posts under the Weight Loss category or by clicking here.

It’s been about 7 weeks since I had my surgery with Slimband. So far I’m down about 12lbs overall and am losing around 1lb per week.

It’s going a lot slower than I thought it would, and I’m not sure whether this is good or bad. Usually slower weight loss means it will not be gained back, but on the other hand, I feel like I’m failing as I do it.

I just had a call with my dietitian and funny enough he was encouraging me to eat MORE… more of everything! Always! Anything! He even said pizza or a cheeseburger! It seems that some of my problems can be attributed to under-eating of all things. Go figure!

My other vice is that I’ve been drinking with meals which is a huge no-no for this type of thing. Reason being that when you drink and eat, the food gets washed through your system much faster. The point of the band is to hold food in your stomach longer so you feel less hungry. If you drink and wash the food down, it won’t stick around to give you that feeling!

But it’s a seriously hard habit to break, I LOVE drinking with my food, it makes me so thirsty!

But yeah, adjusting to the new eating patterns and habits is giving me a lot of trouble. I’m not eating enough, and when I do, I have been choosing a lot of the wrong things. I put it down to bad willpower and also a lack of time and planning.

On the plus side of things, my clothes are fitting me a lot better. One pair of my jeans is actually too big for me now! And one of my winter jackets that was just a little too tight before now fits me well.

My face has thinned out and my skin is really soft.

 

And… I don’t know if this is real or just wishful thinking, but my tits are looking awesome! I think losing some of the flab under my arms has given them some more definition or something! Fingers crossed that they don’t shrink as the rest of me shrinks…

Reader Question: Life with Slimband?

Update: You can find all weight loss/Slimband-related posts under the Weight Loss category or by clicking here.

 

Dear Ginger,

I came across your blog and saw that you had the Slimband surgery a few weeks ago. I am considering it too but trying to get as much info as possible. Would you mind sharing some of your thoughts with me? I’m in Toronto and was considering the actual Slimband clinic as opposed to other lapband places. What’s your experience with them been like? Are you satisfied?
If you also don’t mind me asking, are you able to eat better now? Just less of everything?
I’m desperate for a solution but if it’s going to involve me being super strict and “sticking to it” (it being anything) I don’t see a point because if I had the self control I wouldn’t be in this predicament in the first place..lol

Thanks for any advice you can offer
Cheers,
N.B.

Hi N.B.,

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I hope you have enjoyed reading it :)

I’ll do my best to answer your question here, but if I miss anything I’ll be doing periodic posts about my surgery & experiences on the blog (I’ve just been busy recovering lately!)

The first thing I want to say is that you should really do your research and go with a clinic that not only offers the best service and technology, but one that you feel comfortable with. This is a huge thing to go through and you want everything to go as smooth as possible. I’ll tell you my experiences with Slimband but I encourage you to check out other places as well, every person is different.

What I found is that they all offer roughly the same services for the same cost ($16,000). You want to have someplace that has a good follow-up program with dieticians, communities, and free fills for life. The market is competitive so I think most places offer the same stuff.

Essentially I chose Slimband because I felt that the actual band was superior in construction, the location was more convenient for me and I got a chance to talk with Niki as my consultant. Niki is the lady you see in all the ads everywhere. I also felt that the clinic might be the right choice because they are able to afford the giant ad campaign. I work in advertising so I know that it is not cheap!

Slimband also had Dr. Yau, who has performed over 5000 of these surgeries. I wanted someone competent to do my surgery. Unfortunately I didn’t end up getting him that day, but the other surgeon spoke with me, answered my questions and in the end, he did a good job.

I’m mostly satisfied with the service so far. There were a few issues with payment and my questions not being addressed properly before surgery, so I would just hound them for the answers. In the end most things got sorted out. I think that no matter how much reading material and stuff they give you, there may always be surprises along the way with this type of surgery.

Anyway, at this point I am now able to eat “real food” once again. I’m Sooooo excited. So far I’ve been able to eat what I want, just less of it. You also have to change the order you eat food so that you eat the protein first, then veg, then carbs. But it’s not really hard. You also can’t drink when you eat—just ask them why when you go for your consultation.

I’m not going to lie, the pre-op diet and then having only liquids for 3 weeks after the surgery was torture. I missed food like crazy and got sick of having nothing but soup! But that’s going to happen no matter what—it IS surgery after all! I feel like I am recovering pretty well, though my weight loss is quite slow compared to some other people. So far I am down 7lbs, but hopefully once I start eating & exercising properly again more will come off.

I, too was desperate for a solution. I’ve done all the diets in the past and exercised quite vigorously with limited results. Shortly after beginning something I’d give it up—usually because the diet was unrealistic, anyway!

With Slimband I am hoping that I can just use it as a tool to help create a new lifestyle for me, rather than a diet. Even before the surgery I was trying to eat less and better quality foods in general. I felt like all the processed crap was just too gross (though I still eat some of it, of course!)

I just had my first meeting with the dietitian last night and he confirmed that I can live life pretty normal, even drinking wine and taking shots and eating cake! The key is moderation, and trying to eat properly the rest of the time. Obviously it’s a big life adjustment, but I think/hope that it will work. It’s not like I have any other options!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for right now. I just started eating food so we’ll see how that goes. Feel free to ask more questions here, or even on the blog! I think I may post your question (anonymously) and my answer… a lot of folks have been asking the same thing.

I hope this helps, and let me know what you decide to do!

-G