Summertime = Fresh Veggies!

What a great time to get Back on Track!  There is nothing better than having fresh vegetables and fruits from your local farmer’s market to kick-start your weight loss.  I find that this time of year helps me shed those 5 pounds I gained during the winter months.

I usually buy my vegetables at our local farmer’s market, however, this year I have two good size plant stands that were crafted from an old picnic table by my “permanent fiance” Victor.

Garden I’ve planted beefsteak and cherry tomato’s, zucchini and yellow squash, lettuce, bell pepper and cucumbers. Not to mention my herb garden made up of lavender, peppermint, thyme, rosemary, basil and oregano! I can’t wait to watch it grow.  I have a little extra room so I’m trying to think of other vegetables to add.  They sit in full sun so I have to be careful what I choose.  Any thoughts or ideas?

What are your favorite dishes to cook with all of these fresh vegetables?  For me, I love squash and broccoli casserole.  I just visited my mother and sister over Mother’s Day weekend and we made two broccoli casseroles while I was there and I came home and made another when I got back to DC!  Fresh broccoli is the best and as they say in the South – one can never have enough casserole dishes!  See recipe here!

Victor and I will be sailing out on the Chesapeake this Memorial Day and I always try and keep it healthy.  We’ve become accustomed to using our Lodge Dutch Oven to create one dish wonders and we’ve discovered that you can cook just about any meat and add veggies at the end for a wonderful dish! Plus, there are usually left-overs!  Of course I will have to have the obligatory hamburger but I will leave the bun in the bag and roll mine up in a nice piece of Bibb Lettuce!  Yum yum.  I hope you all have a great weekend and don’t forget to thank a vet for all they do to keep us safe!



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Spring has Sprung!

Don’t you just love this time of the year?  I do.  I love to see the flowers blooming, the cherry blossoms, the sun on my neck and most of all, the small vegetable gardens that pop up around the city. Growing up in Alabama, my daddy always had a huge garden but being here in our Nation’s Capital it’s a little more difficult. Fortunately, we live on Capitol Hill and have a small backyard. So this year, Victor is going to build me a garden stand so I can grow herbs and veggies too!  I couldn’t be more excited!

Speaking of veggies, I noticed that the farmer’s market was bringing in the greens!  Kale, Collards, Broccoli Rabe, Onions – so many great dishes to think about preparing or trying something new!  I grew up eating collard and turnip greens but I never had kale.  Then, in October 2014, I went to a wellness conference and they made Kale Smoothies!  Yum! Yum!Kale SmoothieThere are several recipes if you Google it, but I usually throw a handful of ice in the bottom of the blender, 2 handfuls of kale, 1/2 of a small banana and 1/2 of a small avocado, 1 pack of Sweet N Low and 1/2 cup of Fairlife 2% milk. Like I said, Yum! Yum! And guess what? It’s packed with nutrients.

Two cups of kale has 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber which makes you feel full. It also contains Vitamins A, C and K and a B vitamin (folate) that’s key for brain development! Kale also contains Lutein which gives kale its deep, dark green coloring and protects against macular degeneration and cataracts.

Avocados are high in fat, but don’t worry, it’s the good, healthy type of fat. They also contain fat-soluble vitamin E.  Avocados are an excellent source of antioxidants that may help slow aging and prevent certain cancers and heart disease.

So try something new this Spring and share it with me!


Posted in Bariatrics, Clean Eating, Health and Wellness, Weight Loss

Happy “Food” Year!

Food . . . we all need it for nourishment but as bariatric patients, that word can bring on so much emotion.  Last week I had 5 holiday parties to attend so “food” was on mind from the moment I woke up. Every morning would start with what should I eat now so I can have something later? How much more should I exercise to combat any bad “food” choices I might make? Is two glasses of wine, two too many? I’m sure you know what I’m talking about!

Feelings like these can sabotage your good “food” habits before you ever get to the party.  Fortunately I realized this earlier in the week so I tried to establish some goals for myself.  I had already reached a 20 pound weight loss for the year and I knew I didn’t want to gain one ounce back!  I also knew I wanted to feel and look good in my clothes and I also knew I really didn’t have a lot of extra time to exercise longer.

So, these are the guidelines I established for myself that seem to have worked because my weight is holding steady and I did enjoy myself at the parties.

  1. Drink extra water the day of the event. This helped to keep my body hydrated and full so that I didn’t snack or overeat during the day.
  2. Have some protein right before you leave your house.  This helped me to feel satisfied and not in need of heading straight to the “food” tables.
  3. If you do have a glass of wine – take it with ice cubes.  This way, you reduce the amount of calories per glass and sip it.
  4. Introduce yourself to someone and strike up a conversation. If you are talking – you can’t be eating.
  5. When it does come time to have a something to eat -peruse the table for proteins and veggies.  They will be there somewhere among the lobster mac and cheese and creamy dips.  I was lucky one night when they had London Broil, a cheese tray (no bread or crackers for me) and a veggie tray.  All great choices.  Also, if you can, pick up the dessert plate to put your food on. They are usually smaller and you won’t have the desire to fill your plate.

I know the holidays are about being with family, “food” and all of the other goodies, but this year think a little bit about making it about your health, realizing how far you’ve come, being mindful and starting out the New Year a step ahead! (or maybe several)

Wishing you all a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season



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About Bariatric Center for Success

Hi there!  My name is Denise Roden and I’m a bariatric patient.  On August 11, 2004 my life changed.  I had Roux En Y Surgery to lose weight; and I did.  I lost 100 pounds over 18 months and I felt like I was a new person! I was buying new clothes, going to the gym, dating – I was on cloud nine.  I soon discovered that this is what is referred to as “the honeymoon phase.”  Just like a new marriage – there is a period of time right after where everything is blissful, your in love, it’s so easy.  You didn’t even have to try . . . or did you? Once that phase wears off, couples have to learn how to communicate and compromise.  In bariatric surgery – you have to learn how to eat and exercise properly in order to make your tool work for you long term.

I maintained that weight loss for around 3 years then started “the creep.”  This is the second phase of weight loss surgery for me.  Over the course of the next 2 years I put back on 30 pounds.  My clothes were too tight, my energy level went down and I felt like those around me that were so proud of the weight I had lost (me included) started to look at me and think she’s going to gain it back. Always, in my head, I had that point of no return number on the scale.  I immediately hired a trainer and headed back to the gym and back to the plan.

Weight loss surgery gave me a life and a voice and I wanted to give back.  Over the years, the bariatric programs have gotten better but they still have a long way to go in the education department.  That’s why I left my job and opened Bariatric Center for Success!  I received a health coaching certification from Georgetown University of Continuing Studies and became a licensee of Bariatric Support Centers International.  I now teach two curriculums – Success Habits and Back on Track live and as webinars.  I would like to share my knowledge of new obesity therapies, how to keep the weight off, staying on track, and low carb recipes with the bariatric patient community so check back soon!

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It’s that time of year! Please note how many “Fun Size Bites” you eat!

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Reduces Weight Gain after Surgery

This article speaks to Gastric Sleeve patients but behavioral therapy works for any procedure or habit that someone would like to change.

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Please check out this article written by Lisa O’Donoghue-Lindy highlighting my life journey to opening my own business.

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Calories In – Calories Out (or maybe not)

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