Tag Archives: diabetes

WLS Chronicles ~ Maintaining

25 Jul

It has been almost SEVEN months since my surgery and I am still absolutely overjoyed at my decision.  I have found more energy than I EVER remember having, am only on one medication (hypothyroidism) and I am feeling more confident than ever.  This surgery has given me a new lease on life and I LOVE it!

Now, I make the best decisions with ease on food and drink choices.  I eat a LOT of cheese.  A LOT.  Mostly I eat eggs, bacon, chicken, broccoli, more chicken, cheese, beef, cauliflower, more cheese….ha ha ha!  I drink coffee.  A LOT OF COFFEE.  Splenda, sugar free creamer and the occasional sugar free Torani syrup are necessary in this new life.

I find myself with tons of energy during the day, when you are supposed to have it!  Moving was still exhausting but I could tell many times that I was able to do more, lift more, move longer when we were packing up our home of four years!  (We moved from NC to TX….not sure if I blogged on that…will do if I haven’t!)

Do I get hungry?  It depends.  If I miss a meal, I get hungry around the six hour mark.  I usually eat every three hours…so I can tell if I missed one easily.  But the hunger is different.  I crave protein and healthy foods.  I love roasted veggies.  I feel like I can TASTE foods better because I’m eating so much healthier.

Do I cheat?  I guess it depends on your definition.  I eat a few M&M’s (peanut) with my cheese and crackers if I am creating my own bento box.  Peanut M&M’s do contain protein so it’s not a terrible choice.  But I eat a max of FIVE.  It gives me enough of a sweet taste but will not wreck my life plan.  I ate a bite of my Mom’s birthday cake.  I have licked icing off of a knife.  In the last few weeks (since my nutritionist told me to treat myself every now and then) I have let myself have more carbs a few times a week.  Sweet potato – yessssssss.  (with butter + cinnamon + splenda)

Do I have cravings?  Yes.  As mentioned before I crave healthy foods.  I do have unhealthy wants as well.  I want soft, white bread.  All the time.  LOL  I do not cave on that one and I won’t.  Sandwiches were a go-to for me and I do miss them but I would rather stick to my plan.

All in all, I am doing quite well at adjusting to “life after bariatric surgery” and have had VERY few issues.  I have had “dumping syndrome” a couple of times, both after having something with a large amount of milk.  I (obviously) now avoid large amounts of milk.  I find that if I don’t plan, I see either a stall or I don’t feel my best.  SO – I plan!  🙂

In all honesty, the hardest parts of this journey have been been:

  • the planning – it can take as much time as you want it to take…from a few minutes to stop and think “do I have my water and a healthy protein” every time I walk out the door to a few hours meal planning/grocery shopping/prepping.  You get what you put into it.  It is SO worth it to take the time to figure out what works for your schedule, your new tummy and your family/lifestyle.
  • the change in habits – (I mean I am from the South where EVERYTHING revolves around eating!)  Thinking about food nonstop is a really hard habit to break.  We are inundated with Food Network, recipes/videos on Facebook, food everywhere we go – it is extremely hard for someone who is trying to live a new lifestyle of eating to live and not living to eat.
  • the emotions from support and nonsupport – This one is pretty self explanatory but the support I have received from my husband, parents, children, in-laws, friends and weight loss surgery family has been nothing short of amazing.  The feedback on my progress, on pictures, on my meals….I can’t tell you how important it has been.  It’s the reason I had to “come out of the kitchen” (my Dad coined that!) a month after my surgery.  I had all intentions of only telling a few people but I quickly realized that the cheerleading and kudos and encouragement meant far more to me than my privacy or pride.  The negative side of that, of course, is opening yourself up to criticism, snarky comments or judgements.  The worst thing you can do to someone who has lost 105 pounds is NOT MENTION IT.  I promise.  It is awkward.  I feel like I’m searching for the reason they aren’t noticing or mentioning it or is it me or am I not that different or or or or orrrrr….I feel like saying, “You mad, bro?” when someone doesn’t!!!   (One day I am going to post a Dos and Don’ts I PROMISE!)
  • the impact on my family (good and bad) – I think I covered most of this already but it does impact every day life, of course.  I prefer to not go to Texas Roadhouse.  I LOVED it.  Truly.  BUT THOSE ROLLS THOUGH.  That one is a hard one.  They are EVERYWHERE.  I am certainly not going to ask my family to not eat them, so I just don’t go there.  It is where they go without me and have their own dates and I stay home or find something else to do.  No problem.  Am I jealous when they all get dessert?  You betcha.  I’m human.  Occasionally, I’ll have a bite (depending on what I have eaten) but I have resisted overdoing it.  We truly have to plan our day trips, date nights and dinners out in a way that we have never had to before.  Our kids are picky (ok, so is Mike) so we’ve always had to plan ahead – look at menus – but NOW it’s an extra challenge with my new tummy.  I am SO appreciative of understanding kids – they really have never complained about the changes.  Of course, I feel like that’s probably because they see the good in this new lifestyle.  They see me healthy and energized…and most of all, happy.

 

WLS Chronicles ~ Dining Out

25 Apr

I had a request to put together some restaurant experience from a WLS perspective.  It is not as easy as it might seem to just eat less than you did before.  It takes some planning, tons of patience and it certainly takes a support system that understands and empathizes with what you’re going through.  Life is DIFFERENT.  It is BETTER, for sure.  But, different, nonetheless.

My first meal out was Mexican.  I ate refried beans.  They were amazing.  Cheap.  Everything.  🙂  Once I felt better about going out, it was easier to ask our server if I could eat off the kid’s menu.  I have yet to find a restaurant that denied me that chance.  I have a card from my surgeon stating that I had bariatric surgery but have not needed to “prove it” yet!

The easiest way to see my food habits is to check me out on Instagram.  Search the hashtag #whatJJate and you’ll see ALL my foodie pics!  Here are some things that I snapped pics of that have worked well for me in the last several weeks and where I had them:

Broiled Fish, Bay Breeze (Sanford, NC)

This was one of my first restaurant meals.  It was delicious.  I could only eat VERY little and to be honest it was not great reheated.  If I had an air fryer maybe it would have been better?  It was a costly dinner for what I ate so I have not had this one again!  (Note, I just was not very comfortable asking about the kid’s meal here…no knock on them, I just wasn’t prepared to talk about my surgery too much to strangers.)

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Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap, Chick-fil-A (Many times, many places!)

This is one of my faves.  It is a quick decision and as long as I have somewhere to stop and eat, it’s easy.  I usually get the avocado ranch dressing and dip it in there (sparingly).  The key to this one is SMALL bites.  One wrap is two servings for me at this time.  I peel off most of the wrap as the lettuce holds it together nicely.  I do still eat a few bites of the wrap though.

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Protein Bistro Box, Starbucks (Many times, many places)

Another great idea.  It includes apples, hard-boiled egg, grapes, white cheddar cheese and Justin’s honey peanut butter.  (It also includes a multigrain muelsi bread which I discard.)  I squeeze a little of the peanut butter on the apples – delish!  A great choice if you forget to pack your snack and need a meal on the run!  I have also taken this into restaurants if I was worried about their choices.

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{Kids Meal} Grilled chicken w/ broccoli rabe, California Pizza Kitchen (Durham, NC)

This was yummy and for sure was better than any of the regular menu options.  Yes, you can always go with a salad with some type of protein but you are paying about $12-$14 for ONE meal then.  A kids meal $4-6 will easily fill you up (protein first – then veggies to fill up) and you’re not wasting a ton of food.  I usually take the leftover veggies home to put w/ other protein meals!

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Grilled Chicken Quesadilla, Los Charros (Broadway, NC)

I usually get this with a side of guacamole to put on top of it (or pico).  I open the quesadilla up and then just eat the chicken and cheese.  I also usually let myself have TWO tortilla chips with salsa if I’m still hungry after my chicken is gone.

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{Kids Meal} Grilled chicken w/ broccoli, Outback (College Station, TX)

Easy choice here!  Order from kids menu….the chicken is really good.  You can do steak here too of course but this was before my steak days! 🙂

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Burrito Bowl, Chipotle (College Station, TX)

This looks HORRIBLE.  But it’s delish. 🙂  I get a burrito bowl w/ no rice.  Only protein of choice, beans, salsa, cheese, light on the lettuce and sour cream.  It is easily 4-6 meals for me.

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Sirloin steak, Texas Roadhouse (College Station, TX)

My first steak after surgery.  I chose to wait three months post op to have ANY steak because I like mine medium (risk of infection in your recently sewn up gut!).  It.was.amazing.  Also, it’s easy to order a REAL portion (I did 6 oz) because it’s easily divisible.  🙂  I ate this three times….ordered my two sides as a bowl of chili and a house salad.  Ate the chili for another meal and had some of the salad each time I ate the steak.  Makes that $9.99 go pretty far!

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White bean chicken chili, Lupe Tortilla (College Station, TX)

We make this a lot at home.  I think my Dad eats it about twice a month.  It’s easy to make and is packed with protein w/o having a ton of bad carbs.  The restaurant version was the same and very good.  I did not eat the tortillas w/ cheese that it came with (but I wanted to).  I ordered this from the “Starter” menu so it wasn’t the price of an entree but was two servings for me.

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Cheeseburger (no bun), green beans & mushrooms, Sodulak’s (Snook, TX)

A cheeseburger (hold the bun) is an easy choice anywhere.  Having a side like green beans is a huge bonus for me!  I was able to eat about 1/2 of this burger w/ the mushrooms on top and a few bites of green beans.

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{Kids Meal} Grilled chicken w/ broccoli, Outback (Southern Pines, NC)

Ordered from the kids menu again…and my Mom got a potato that they gave her extra cheese and bacon for…I added that to my chicken and will do that again!  Yummy!  Pretty much MOST restaurants have grilled chicken on their kids menu and some type of steamed veggie.  (Note:  I have gotten very comfy about the kids menu and don’t even feel the need to tell my life story in defense of it!)

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Fast Food Options:  OF COURSE, cooking at home – grilling, roasting, etc…. is usually best…LIFE HAPPENS.  These choices have gotten me through a meal that I might have otherwise skipped (DO NOT DO THAT).

Chick-fil-A

  • An 8 count (FRIED!) nugget entree only has 9 g of carbs and packs 28 g of protein.  My tummy tolerates these VERY well…just eat slowly!
  • Grilled chicken sandwiches (minus bun) are great!
  • Even the regular (fried) chicken sandwiches are low in carbs due to the fact that they are not heavily breaded.  (Again, no bun.)
  • Chicken Noodle Soup…the small has 18g of carbs and 12 g of protein.  (NOOOO crackers!)
  • I stay away from the salads because there is just not that much chicken in them and I have to focus on protein.

Taco Bell

  • Breakfast Soft Taco (Bacon) has only 15g of carbs and has 11 g of protein.  Again, take it SLOW and chew well.  I TRY NOT TO EAT ALL OF THE TORTILLA.  (So, I move all the contents to one side and tear off the tortilla.)
  • Beef Soft Taco Supreme has only 20 g of carbs and has 10 g of protein.  (Same tortilla note above.)

Bojangles

  • You can order a side of bacon and egg.  For real.  🙂

Cook Out

  • Burgers w/ no buns
  • Grilled chicken w/ no bun
  • Barbecue & slaw

Wendy’s

  • Burgers w/ no buns
  • Grilled chicken w/ no bun
  • Chili is a WONDERFUL option.  (small has 16g of carbs and 15g of protein)

Big T’s, Jim’s, Dairy Bar, etc…. – stick with either hamburger steak, burger w/ no bun, grilled chicken, or eat before you go with family and you can have an unsweet tea or coffee and visit and not worry about what you eat!

TRAVEL NOTES – If you’re blessed and get upgraded to First…there is usually a low carb option and MOST meals come with salads that you can put whatever “meat” (and I use that term very loosely!!) on the salad and call it a day!  Best to pack snacks that you can easily turn to though, in case they are just not serving or are only carb-loading!

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HOME CHEF/HELLO FRESH/ETC ETC ETC NOTE:  You can still do these services..you just have to watch the carbs.  Choose meals that are low-carb or that you can adapt by not eating the breads.  Most of them include sides that are relatively low on carbs (like roasted veggies) so it’s still a possibility!

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Treats:

Sugar-Free Sno-cones are the BEST!

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WLS Chronicles ~ Week 14 Update

6 Apr
I have not posted lately about my progress with weight loss surgery so I thought I would while I have a few minutes on my hands this morning! It has been 14 weeks and 2 days since my life changed in a major way. I am only on ONE medication now (which I can’t shake – you know thyroid meds NEVER go away once you start!!). I have more energy than I can ever remember in my life. My diet and meal planning still are a huge part of my day. I have been able to dine out with friends more lately and even last night had dinner at a friend’s house. You wouldn’t believe the anxiety over worrying about hurting someone’s feelings by not eating a ton of their home cooked food. (Yes, I know not everyone would have this anxiety but when you are someone who is super sensitive you are more sensitive about other’s feelings and some of y’all just should thank me right now for that because SOME people just don’t care about anyone’s feelings! I digress…) However, we had a wonderful time and I explained and we were done with that!
I have kissed blood pressure and diabetes meds goodbye. I have kissed 80 pounds goodbye. I have kissed lots of foods goodbye. I have kissed LOTS of clothes goodbye (5-6 sizes down!). I have welcomed new friendships made by this journey. I’ve enjoyed exercising which I have really never EVER looked forward to before. I have adapted to my new tummy and my new emotions and new habits….and I have even turned into the most COLD NATURED PERSON I KNOW. (Well besides Shannon :)) EVEN IN TEXAS! LOL I have felt stress about new things. Not eating enough protein, drinking water too quickly, having 1 too many carbs… It is crazy to think of the differences in my diet and lifestyle. There is absolutely no way to tell you in words the emotions and pure joy that I have in my heart over this opportunity. The coolest thing is that people have reached out, privately, to ask questions. To get advice. To tell me they have been considering it. To dig deeper. To get support. So while I’m already in my feels over here, let me tell you that I am OVERJOYED to support others and their personal decisions to make changes to better themselves. Whether that means surgery or diet changes or lifestyle changes – if it makes you better….if it makes you live longer, if it makes you able to enjoy your family more, if it makes you healthier, DOOOOO IT.  Will everyone agree with you?  NOPE!  I can tell you that firsthand.  Side note, don’t get me wrong….those that don’t agree with you likely won’t tell you that to your face…but the whispers happen.  The “why didn’t she just exercise and eat better” questions….the “wow, that was drastic” conversations…the people who just act like it didn’t happen (that’s by far my favorite….hahahahaha….like, do you NOT notice I look crazy different?  now you just seem weird.)  Honestly I used to be offended by the thought of someone not agreeing but then I read a few memes (HA HA HA!) and felt better.  You know the ones…
Also, the support of family and friends means a TON. It is still second to my relationship with Jesus. He is the ONLY reason I have been successful in this because I AM WEAK. Alone, I’d be searching out some Shipley’s Donuts right now. But here I sit, coffee with Splenda & sugar free creamer in hand. Happy. Blessed. Grateful.

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Day 42/Week 7 – Three Months Post-Op)

12 Mar

This phase is where you can introduce some crunch back into your life!  There were a few things that I wanted SO badly before this phase that I could finally have now!!  Having anything NOT mushy was a welcomed change to me.  Being able to try a few new things was exciting as always!

Probably the number one thing on that list was this cheesy snack:  Whisps!  I had seen this from other losers (affectionate term for my WLS friends! ) and was really looking forward to them!  (Purchased at Costco.  Seen at Publix as well.)  They did NOT disappoint. VERY cheesy.  Wonderful as a “toast” for tuna or chicken salad.  Great crumbled on top of salad.  (A serving is 23 crisps which is too much for me personally…but in that serving you’d have only 1g of Carbs and 13 grams of Protein!)

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WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Day 21/Week 4 – Day 41/Week 6) ~ Soft Foods

10 Mar

I feel like I waited my whole life for this phase.  Then, I realized it was so much more work!  🙂  Knowing you only have a handful of choices does make things easier in the beginning.  Realizing you have to be creative and efficient and prepare and meal plan is a beast!  Thankfully I have a ton of time on my hands these days!  This face is centered around reintroducing soft foods, planning meals and making great choices in order to keep up the success.  The list for this phase is really long….so I’ll just summarize what I was most excited about:

  • eggs, soft scrambed (YESSSSS!)
  • flakey white fish
  • tuna (cooked)
  • small shrimp
  • low-fat deli meats, thinly sliced
  • oatmeal
  • cauliflower (soft/mashed)
  • soft lettuce (green or red leaf or bib)

I could not wait to have an egg….or fish…or turkey.  I just wanted something close to what I had previously eaten!  Most of these foods agreed with me.  The oatmeal was the only thing on this list that I only tried once.  It was not very high in protein, needed to be fortified and was just very plain (even w/ Splenda and cinnamon)..just not worth the trouble in my opinion.  The eggs were amazing.  I started with egg whites only but am now on to real eggs…the yolk doesn’t agree with everyone and some people are just more careful than I am.  I feel like the yolk is the least of my worries.  If there was a Hershey’s kiss inside, I’d avoid it for sure! 🙂  Again, tons of time spent scheduling meals this phase.  Having any kind of appointment or structure means packing a bag and taking food on the go.  You have to let go of worrying what people think, for sure.  I have eaten in waiting rooms, my vehicle, Target, Costco….when it’s time, I’m eating!  I won’t let a silly thing like worrying what others thing ruin my success!  (This is such a change from the old me!)  Here’s my bag when I took my Mom for a procedure at the hospital:

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This reminded me – STRING CHEESE!  This is a staple for any weight loss surgery patient.  You have to have it with you everywhere you go.  Lowfat Sargento is my favorite.  Two sticks is the perfect snack size and that is 12 grams of protein!  Not too shabby!  I have them stashed in any refrigerator I’m near.  (My sweet hubby bought me a small fridge for our room since it’s upstairs away from the kitchen…having popsicles in the freezer for a bedtime snack is my jam.)

My go to cooler is my Pack-It (in the pic above).  You freeze the actual bag so there is no “sweating” or mess.  It’s the best.  I have a few so that one is always ready for me.  I take bottled water everywhere I go, too.  Never want to be dehydrated, even this far out from surgery.  It is constantly a risk.

Tuna salad was a big deal for me during this phase.  I have not made it (still, at 10 weeks out) to having a “meal” yet…..meaning a meat and two veggies because I am 100% focused on protein.  I will have a “salad”…and I use the term loosely because it’s really just 2-3 oz of chicken and a few sprigs of spinach!  That’s as adventurous as I have gotten.  It is really fun to figure out new ways of eating, meal planning and trying new things.  Me and Pinterest are besties at this point!

Learning to listen to your tummy (which many refer to as their pouch or pocket or sleeve at this stage!) is a new thing for most people.  Knowing that hiccuping when you are eating means you’re likely eating too fast or taking bigger bites than you should be.  Gurgling in your tummy might mean you are hungry.  A tightness in your chest means you’re full.  Every body is different and ever surgery is different and every success story is different.  Comparing is unhealthy and usually leads to disappointment or arrogance – so just, NO!

 

 

 

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Days 14 – 20) ~ Semi-Solids

9 Mar

Day 14 starts “Week Three” of post-op.  This is when you get to do some actual CHEWING!  You will never ever understand how much you miss this simple act until you have nothing to chew!  All liquids from the first two weeks are allowing with the addition of some semi-solids.  This is usually thought of as an applesauce consistency.  So, because I love a bulleted list…here you are:

  • Light, low fat strained yogurt or plain Greek yogurt (no fruit/seeds)
  • Protein fortified strained hot cereals like cream of wheat or cream of rice
  • Low fat 1% cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
  • Protein fortified cook and mashed or pureed potatoes and non-gas forming veggies (carrots, squash, green beans or peas)
  • Mashed black, pinto or navy beans
  • Hummus
  • Protein fortified sugar free and low fat or fat free pudding

Most of the above will need to have some protein added in order to meet goals for the day (still need 60-80 grams of protein).  Unflavored protein powders are a great way to get the protein in but BEWARE they are not all created equally!  Some leave a grainy texture, some you can “taste”…  I found that Isopure was the best for me.  Again, don’t buy a huge portion until you have sampled to be sure you won’t waste your money.  Non-fat dry milk powder works for adding protein to puddings and cream of wheat.  Two tablespoons of dry milk powder adds about 5 grams of protein.

The schedule is a little different for this week because when you being to EAT actual FOOD, you have stop drinking all liquids 30 minutes before you eat.  You cannot drink ANY liquids WHILE eating.  ALSO – you have to wait until 30 minutes AFTER you eat to begin liquids again.  In addition, it should take you 20-30 minutes to finish your meal (or…snack as the size would indicate!).

For instance, if I woke up at 6 and had cream of wheat at 6:30….I would be finished by 7….and could only drink liquids at 7:30.  Then my next food would be at 9:30 so I would need to stop all liquids by 9 in order to start that!  Watching the clock is VERY important once you have this surgery.  Your success really depends on your commitment to the process.  The apps and resources I mentioned in this blog post really do help so much.

My first semi-solid meal was the Ricotta Bake (from the world according to eggface).  It was the best thing I had tasted in weeks!!!  🙂

Here is the picture I sent to my family because everyone was waiting for me to have this…I talked about it constantly because I couldn’t wait!

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It did NOT disappoint…it was wonderful!  That week I also enjoyed vegetarian refried beans:

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Small dollop of sour cream on top of them made all the difference in the world to me!

This phase starts to get very time consuming as you are constantly planning, preparing and watching that clock.  For me, this time period was Jan 10 – Jan 16.  My first restaurant meal happened that week to.  We went to San Felipe (a local Mexican restaurant).  It was just my husband and I, which I think helped my anxiety about the whole thing!  Being around a ton of people who are all eating what they want will get to you, trust me!  I had refried beans there as well.  I ordered a side of them and ate them for two days!  I am finally a cheap date!

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WLS Chronicles – HELP!!!

28 Feb

There are a ton of resources for weight loss surgery.  The FIRST one you should listen to is of course your medical team.  But once you’re not at the physician’s office – where do you turn?  It was (and is) a combination of things for me, so I thought I’d share.

APPS

  • Baritastic – This is a great food journaling tool.  You can also set reminders here for taking meds, for drinking liquids/proteins, and for taking vitamins.  I hear that some doctor’s will be integrating with it in the future so they can receive your activity and monitor while suggesting/commenting on your habits/choices.  I think that would be WONDERFUL.  Accountability is an amazing tool.
  • Monitor Your Weight – This is a very simple app that tracks your weight.  You enter your starting weight and target weight (height, age, gender) and it provides BMI info.  When you weigh, you log your stats and it calculates your new BMI, pounds left to target, how much you’ve lost…etc.  VERY simple but the graphing and info is probably my favorite of all weight loss apps (and I’ve tried SO MANY!)
  • BariatricPal – This is more of a forum-based app that connects you to others going through the same experiences.  To be honest, I didn’t use this one much as it has SO MANY members and forums that it was overwhelming for me.
  • Lose It – I have used this app for years.  The free version is pretty simple and great for food journaling and weight tracking.  Personally I used this one for a while until I found Baritastic and just found that it served the purposes of tracking protein better for me.

There are tons of other apps but the above are the ones that I found worked for my journey.  In addition, many surgeons have their own app as well with recipes and tips!

 

SUPPORT

  • My number one support was prayer.  Knowing that I was praying for God’s will to be done in my life and my health has helped me more than anything else.  When you are submitting to His will, you are not praying to lose weight or to be approved for the surgery…you are praying for God’s will be to revealed in your life.  You are giving it all to God and, in doing so, knowing that He will equip you for the journey He sets you on.
  • Support also came in from my family in a huge way.  My husband and I talked at length about this and we prayed together too.  My parents and my in-laws all were rooting me on.  My kids were all excited about their Mom feeling better and ready to help however they could.  My closest friends knew I was going to start the process and were with me all along the way.  It has been wonderful to have cheerleaders in this process.  I can’t imagine having someone be negative about this decision (to my face).
  • A very unexpected resource for me was Instagram.  I was up late one night and decided to search “#weightlosssurgery” and “#gastricbypass”.  I was AMAZED!  Other users were sharing what they had eaten on different phases of the pre and post op diets…they were sharing their solutions for pain/pressure/loneliness/protein.  It was ALL just what I needed.  I quickly created a separate account for this purpose and am still very active in it.  (My username is:  rnyftw – follow me to see what I’m eating or how I’m progressing!)
  • A recipe source OF COURSE was Pinterest.  I don’t even think you can say the word “recipe” without thinking of Pinterest anymore!  You can search by the type of surgery or the phase of diet you are on.  I created my own post-surgery board so I could easily pin to it.  It was very helpful.
  • There a zillion blogs on weight loss surgery.  The one I found the most helpful was The World According to Eggface.  She is 11 years out from her surgery and has been amazingly successful.  She offers pics of her “bento box lunches” and recipes galore.  She is the creator of the famous “ricotta bake” that SO many of us enjoyed during the pureed phase of life!  She also includes any tools/appliances that she acquired before or after surgery to make life easier and that helped me so much!  (BUY A MINI FOOD PROCESSOR, TRUST ME!!!)

I hope the above list helps know where to turn if you have questions, need inspiration or need to vent.  The combination of all of them have helped me through this journey more than I can say!

 

WLS Chronicles – Emotions

26 Feb

Something I think is not talked about enough is the emotional toll that weight loss surgery can take on someone.  The doubts, the stress, the WORK…it is all so much.  I still say (8 weeks out) that it is ALL worth it.  I’m just saying, that there is a lot of “it”.

It starts before you have surgery, when you are deciding.  When you’re evaluating the work, the cost (again, praise God that I was able to benefit from this w/ zero out of pocket), the time, the sacrifices, the changes – all those things that make up this journey – your brain is on overdrive.  You are researching, talking to friends, to people who have had the surgery (and bonus if those two previous sets are the same people), talking to doctors, feeling your family out to see how they would react….you’re talking to YOURSELF, wondering is this the answer?  You doubt.  You worry.  You think people will think “you took the easy way out”.  (Spoiler alert:  Some do.  You start to care less when you realize how WRONG they are!)  You worry it won’t be worth it.  (Another spoiler:  It is.)  You fear the pain, the judgements, the structure…the sacrifice.  You wonder if you can really do it on your own.  These thoughts really haven’t ended for me, specifically.  There are days that I feel on TOP OF THE WORLD…so happy and healthy and have no fear.  There are days that I can barely get out of bed because my tummy is in pain, I can’t even THINK of eating another bite of ANYTHING, and I fear dehydration.  There are days that I get tons of compliments and still go home and cry because I feel fat.  There are days that I post a picture on Facebook…get 100 likes…and notice that one person in particular hasn’t liked it and it makes me self-conscience.

When I say it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, I’m not exaggerating.  I’m not being dramatic.  Knowing that the eating habits of my past are just that….my past, knowing that sometimes it means I’ll be left out of things…knowing that people are judging me…knowing that my family’s eating habits have had to change…knowing that I can’t rely on food to comfort me (seriously, that’s a thing!)…IT.IS.HARD.  There are so many things that you don’t think about this affecting.  So many ways it changes you.  So many ways it shifts your priorities.

I’ll say it again…….it is so worth it.  My family is worth it.  Growing old(er) with my hubby is worth it.  Saving damage to other organs (from meds for diabetes & high blood pressure) is worth it.  I am worth it!

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Days 1 -3 Clear Liquids)

17 Feb

One of the questions I get the most (after the dreaded, “How much have you lost???”) is “what do you eat?”.  That answer has changed over the last seven weeks, dramatically!

The first three days after surgery are ALL about sipping.  The diet is ALL clear liquids.  The focus in on hydration and protein.  One of the biggest concerns after weight loss surgery is dehydration, and this fact is really driven home by all medical staff at the hospital, at the Dr’s office and from the weight loss community – so I took heed.  The goal for hydration is 64 ounces a day.  Here is a sample of the suggested hydration liquids:

  • Decaf Coffee or Tea (Splenda, Equal, Truvia & Stevia are allowed)
  • Clear Fruit Juice (Diet or Sugar Free)
  • Sugar Free Jello
  • Sugar Free Popsicles
  • Chick, beef or vegetable broth
  • Water
  • Sugar Free, Non-Carbonated beverages (Crystal Lite, SF Kool-Aid, SF Lemonade)
  • Vitamin Water Zero
  • Mio drops
  • Dasani flavored water
  • Skinny Water
  • G2

You also have to focus on protein.  For days 1-3 the list of protein (in liquid form) is pretty short.  The goal is to get 60-80 grams of protein in a day (for my surgery).

  • Nectar Protein Powder
  • Health Wise high protein fruit drink
  • Cytomax
  • Healthwise Bouillon
  • Isopure Liquid
  • New Whey 42
  • Healthwise Sugar Free Protein gelatin
  • Unjury chicken soup

For me, the list was pretty disgusting too!  😦  I was NOT a fan of most protein drinks.  Also, your taste changes from the pre-op to the post-op period.  I was fine with the Isopure drinks prior to surgery…but after…ugh!  It made me nauseated to think of sipping on that!  I LOVED the Unjury chicken soup.  It was wonderful since most of my hydrating liquids of choice were “sweet”.  I craved the savory and it satisfied!

The SCHEDULE is the hardest part of this.  The easiest way to explain it is to think of a clock and break it up into 15 minute increments.  From the top of the hour until 15 minutes past, you are sipping on your protein liquids.  From 15 mins past the hour until 30 mins past, you are sipping on your hydrating liquid.  From 30 mins past the hour until 45 mins past, you are sipping hydrating liquids.  Finally, from 45 mins past the hour until the top of the next hour, you are sipping on hydrating liquids.  EACH 15 minute interval you should consume 2 ounces of liquid by SIPPING slowly.  You start over at the top of each hour, so that each hour you are having your protein first.  You are literally sipping every minute of the day, if you’re doing it right.  This stressed me out so much!  I didn’t feel like I could rest at all because I was worried about dehydrating and not getting my protein in!

Again, I missed chewing and I missed my life not revolving around sipping but STILL WORTH IT.  I went into this on diabetes and high blood pressure meds and I stopped them the day before my surgery.  Have not had a blood sugar level over 105 and my blood pressure is normal, if not low, at all times!  Praise God for this opportunity to be HEALTHY.

I found it most helpful to write everything down.  I kept a notebook detailing what I drank, how much and what time.  It was the only way to stay on track and not forget where I was for the goals I had (64 ounces of hydrating liquids, 60-80 g protein).  Here’s a snapshot of one of those days (this was during the next phase – full liquids):

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I also measured everything out (2 ounces at a time) in either shot glasses, small Dixie bathroom cups (they are 3 ounce, so you have to measure liquid before), or clear plastic mini cups (they are 2 ounce – PERFECT) with lids.  You don’t want to chance gulping from a large cup or serving and it helps to visualize as you are drinking.  I remember thinking “Okay, it’s 7 minutes after, I should be halfway done…” and it really helps when you are trying to do everything by the book.

Next post will be from the next phase of diet!  The FULL LIQUID phase!

 

 

 

 

WLS Chronicles – Pre-Op Diet

15 Feb

Let me start by saying, every individual is different.  Every surgeon is different.  If you are reading this and you are on your journey to weight loss surgery, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS listen to YOUR surgeon and medical team.

My surgeon instructed me to start a “liver reduction diet” two weeks before my surgery.  The purpose of this diet is to make it easier for the surgeon to move your liver out of the way so they can focus on your stomach during surgery.  The first week of the liver reduction diet is made up of a daily diet of 2 bariatric protein shakes, 2 bariatric snacks (crisps or bars) and one meal of lean meat and green veggies – NO/LOW carbs, NO caffeine, NO sugar – and 64 ounces of liquids.  I started on December 13th and this part of the diet was not THAT complicated or difficult but that one meal a day was CHERISHED let me tell you!

20161213_184041.jpg

Hamburger Steak, asparagus, green beans and a pickle!

The second week of this diet was very simple.  Five bariatric shakes a day.  Only that.  No solid foods, no snacks, no cheating.  This was HARD.  I missed chewing.  I missed real food.  I could still have hydrating liquids and that included sugar-free popsicles so they were my jam.  They still are.  Yummy.

20161220_165249

My protein shake – Bariatric Advantage Cookies & Cream

The liver reduction diet requires planning, willpower and commitment.  Basically this sets you up for success after surgery as well.  It also gives you bad breath, low energy and dry skin!  By the last few days, it was all I could do to get those shakes down.  The last day, I think I only drank three.  There was just no way.  I was tired of them and just tired in general.  Keep in mind that on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I was on liquids only.  My family was so kind and understanding and did everything they could to make things easier on me.  During this time I still cooked for my family and was around food…I knew that it was going to require me to keep doing that after my surgery so I figured I should start learning to resist temptations!  Easier said than done but I did it!

Twenty-four hours before the surgery, I had to stop all red and purple liquids.  That means only orange sugar free popsicles!  🙂  As usual, nothing to eat after midnight the night before surgery.  My surgery was scheduled for 10:30 AM so I had to be there at 8:30 AM.  I was so beyond ready.  Prayer helped me so much here.  I felt a peace that I couldn’t have come by alone.  I was ready.

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