My new relationship… with food

Before surgery, I used to love food and look forward to eating all kinds of yummy things. I had pizza all the time and yummy fast food. I would eat sweets often and in great volume. I would eat when I thought I was “hungry” which I now know was head hunger. I would eat when I was stressed, happy, bored, or for celebrating something. My whole life revolved around going out to dinner as a social setting and I could easily eat an entire meal and go for desserts.

But now my outlook on food is completely different. I know that this relationship with food is going to keep changing until I find the right niche to fit it in. But for now, I hate food. After gastric bypass you are still revolving your life around food. You are constantly planning for your meals whether you are going out, going to work, staying in, anything. We have to eat on a schedule… at least your surgeon and nutritionist tell you to do so… every 3-4 hours. And your number one focus is protein. Protein, protein, protein. I’m sick of protein. Lol.

Food doesn’t sit the same as it used to in your new belly. And it changes from day to day… heck, even meal to meal. All the foods that brought you comfort before are no longer allowed and you have to find comfort in other things. When you finally find something you can eat (that doesn’t get you sick), you can only have a few bites of it. I don’t know about you, but my mind still hasn’t caught up and it loves the taste so it wants more… then comes horrible chest pains with a mixture of dry heaving and the foamies for an hour to 90 minutes. Fun stuff.

I didn’t know how this would work before surgery and wish I did. Does that mean I’d change my mind about having the surgery??? Heck NO! I would still do it in a heartbeat. But I think being more mentally prepared would make the transition much easier. This is a learning process which means lots of trial and error. I’m scared to try new things but I know that if I don’t want to drink protein shakes as all my meals for the rest of my life, I need to start taking more chances. I’m going to do it slowly (and mostly try new things at home – in case I get sick). But it is something everyone should be aware of pre-op.

I’ve actually just found two bloggers posts I follow that express these same kind of emotions. Here they are for a good read. 🙂

 

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Walking, Water, and Protein… oh my!

Happy St. Patrick's Day

On this freezing cold day here in Maryland, I thought I’d go for a walk around the neighborhood. Each day I try to walk a little further and today I did 2 miles in 40 minutes and hit one giant hill. It was good though and I could definitely feel the burn in my legs… the part where it connects to your torso… kinda like a Barbie doll leg. Lol. Weird but it’s definitely worth it. Tomorrow I’m going to try and go a little further.

Update: As I was writing this blog post, my roommate came home and wanted to go for a walk… Off for walk #2 of the day!

After I get my FitBit One tracker working, I will be logging all my activity and sleep patterns but I’m having issues with the transmitter connecting to my computer. I emailed customer support and hope to hear back from them soon.

Today I wanted to talk to you all about the three most important things for you post-op: Walking, Water, and Protein

Walking

The medical staff stresses walking non-stop while you are in the hospital. They want you up and walking each and every day. The amount of walking varies depending on your health, weight, and activity level. I believe they recommend starting out at 20 minutes a day (it can be broken up into multiple times a day or all at once) and increasing the time each day as you grow stronger.

Walking right after surgery is not fun at all. Especially within the first week. However, it is important because walking gets your blood flowing, preventing blood clots. Walking also helps you get rid of those horrible “gas” pains in your tummy/pouch. And walking helps your bowels to move and allows you to actually have a BM sooner. All of which will make you heal faster and feel better in the long run. So just do it!

Water

Every doctor is going to have a different daily fluid intake for their patients to consume after surgery. The most common number you will find on the internet is 64 oz (which is 8, 8 ounce glasses) of fluid per day. I have heard all over the place that many patients post-op have problems getting in their fluid each day. My doc recommends at least 48 oz of water a day and more if possible. I have not had any issues getting down fluids and most days I achieve the 64 oz goal.

Getting in your fluid is EXTREMELY important or you can get dehydrated. Extreme dehydration is the number 1 reason patients go to the ER after surgery. No way do I want to be one of those patients so I make sure to drink as much and as often as I can. Also, my doc says that any beverages that are non-carbonated, non-caffeinated, and less than 15 calories per servings count as fluids. It does NOT have to be just water but obviously water is the purest form of liquid for your body. I like to mix it up a bit and alternate water with Sobe Life Water (zero calorie kind) or Vitamin Water Zero.

I have noticed the more liquids I drink, the faster I lose the weight. I think this is because it is flushing the nasty fat particles and whatever else out of my system. I used to hate drinking anything but Diet Pepsi. That is literally all I used to drink. But I know for a healthier life, I had to change. I find flavor in the zero calorie Mio flavoring juices that you squirt in water or in zero calorie (non-carbonated) drinks. Will I never have a Diet Pepsi again? I do not know but I do know that I will try not to and to stick with fluids that are actually helpful to my body (either through hydration or cleansing my system).

Protein

Protein, Protein, Protein!!! That’s what they drill in our heads pre-op and that doesn’t change post-op. Protein is the number one most important thing we need to remember (along with fluids) to a happy and healthy life. Protein is the key to our weight loss. Your nutritionist should have calculated an amount you need post-op and you need to make sure you at least get that much in each day. My nutritionist calculated two amounts for me… The first was the minimum amount of protein I should have daily and the second was the amount I need to get in if I do any kind of exercise for the day.

Protein is also the key factor in preventing hair loss. Many of you may have heard about the dreaded hair loss that happens between 2-6 months (typically). Getting in sufficient protein will help to lessen the hair loss. I have also heard that taking Biotin supplements can help to strengthen the root of the hair follicles and also be used to mitigate hair loss. I am taking Biotin and tracking my protein intake to make sure I get in the recommended amount each day. The first few weeks post-op will be hard to get in the entire amount of protein but you need to try your hardest to consume that required amount. I still use protein shakes for about 2 meals a day to help with this.

Just remember these 3 essential requirements for success post-op and you should be on your way to the life you always wanted. 🙂

Protein

I’ve had a couple of people ask about what types of protein to use. I’ve added a section for Protein on my Links page that lists ones I’ve either had or that were recommended to me. Make sure you mix protein with things that are low-fat and low-sugar.

Basically we have to follow the following rules on protein:

  • 6 grams or LESS of Sugar
  • 6 grams or LESS of Total Fat
  • 2 grams or LESS of Saturated Fat
  • 1 gram or LESS of Trans Fat
  • Protein is a priority for bariatric patients since we cannot get this through vitamins and supplements. Eat your protein first at each meal and if there is room, eat the other things.

Your nutritionist will have to calculate how much protein you are supposed to get a day. I am supposed to get at least 60 grams of protein in on regular days and then 75 grams of protein in on days that I work out.