Monthly Archives: July 2013

Learning Capacity and Limits

What I ate today:

Today's food choices, clockwise from top right:  meatballs in marinara (leftovers from yesterday) for breakfast; spicy turkey taco meat with 2 teaspoons guacamole for lunch and dinner; thinly sliced Boar's Head Maple Turkey for snacks; Isopure Zero Carb for late evening drink to make up protein deficit; and multivitamin and calcium supplement x2.

Today’s food choices, clockwise from top right: meatballs in marinara (leftovers from yesterday) for breakfast; 2 ounces of spicy turkey taco meat with 2 teaspoons guacamole for lunch and dinner; thinly sliced Boar’s Head Maple Turkey for snacks; Isopure Zero Carb for late evening drink to make up protein deficit; and multivitamin and calcium supplement x2.

Today is day two of soft solids and the learning curve is much more steep than you’d imagine.  My first day saw me struggle to meet my minimum protein goal  (60 grams) AND get the minimum amount of water in (64 ounces) for the day.  I was not pleased with my performance, but after some thought, I decided to be gentle with myself–I’d just graduated to a new stage of actual food after 3 weeks of nothing but liquids.  I decided that it was going to take some time for me to learn how much my new tiny tummy could hold, and that it was going to take a while to learn to eat less than this new tummy could hold.

This part has not been easy. Continue reading

First Day of Soft Foods and a Recipe

Today I graduated to soft foods.  I can’t begin to describe how excited I was for today to get here.  Today meant that I got to resume my vitamin regimen, which I had missed for the past 3 weeks while on full liquids–before surgery, I took a multivitamin, B12, vitamin D and calcium supplement every day without fail.  So to go without them for 3 weeks was tough because it threw me out of my routine, plus I had really low energy levels, I think because I wasn’t taking my usual battery of supplements.  Thankfully, post-op, they’re all the same ones just in a different form so getting back to my old habits vitamin-wise hasn’t been difficult.

But the most important part of today is that. I. Graduated. To. Soft. FOOD!

For the past two weeks, I have wanted to bite into food so badly I could taste it.  That first week after surgery, I couldn’t even think about eating–I was so focused on drinking and avoiding dehydration that food was the last thing on my mind.  But the more protein drinks I had to drink, and the sweeter they seemed to become, I could hardly wait until I was cleared to have soft foods.

So what did I choose as my first soft foods?

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Motivation and the “Juicy Sexy List”

I want to begin this post by saying that if you are considering surgical intervention for weight loss, please be sure that you also take care of the head game too.  I think that sometimes whenever we attempt to lose weight, the one thing we do not remember to take care of is our brain and our psyche.

We meticulously plan meals, count calories, fat grams, carb grams and protein grams.  We measure out appropriate portions of food and track every bite, lick and taste that passes our lips.  We take the right supplements at the right times of day and remember to drink our water.  We even plan workout schedules and wear fitness tracking devices when working out to see how hard we are working or how much we are walking.   We may even take measurements of key body parts and take photographs at certain intervals so that we can see the change in ourselves over time.  But we rarely remember to perform the most important self-care that you can do whenever you’re trying to lose a large amount of weight–taking care of our minds.  And it is our brain that requires the greatest amount of TLC and maintenance along any weight loss journey, no matter how you choose to pursue it.

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Post Op Week 3 Progress Report

Tomorrow marks three weeks since surgery, and things are rolling along quite nicely.  I am able to drink more liquid than in previous weeks, so on any given day it is not unusual for me to get in 13-14 8 ounce servings of water, so I’m getting nearly a gallon of water/fluid a day.   I am still getting my personal minimum of 60 grams of protein a day, but I think the reason I am only getting in only 60 grams is that I am tired of drinking protein drinks.  I am drinking them now because I have to, not because I want to.  I know this is only temporary, but when your main source of protein for 6 weeks has been protein drinks that are sweet, and sweet is not something your palate particularly loves, it’s fatiguing and just gross because all you taste in your mouth is cloyingly sweet film left behind by the proteins and artificial sweeteners.  Yuck.

This week I get to try soft foods.  I never once thought in my life I would be so excited to get to eat scrambled eggs and refried beans, but I am pretty freakin’ pumped about this possibility.  The funny thing is, that when I was a child spending summers at my grandparents’ homes in New Mexico, scrambled eggs and refried beans was the staple breakfast!  Were any of them alive today, I think they would be both amused that I can now eat these things on my eating plan, that I would be craving them something awful, and they’d be proud of what I have done to improve my health.

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But I Never DIDN’T Have a Life

There is no doubt in my mind that when someone chooses to lose a tremendous amount of weight that it is a life-changing, transformative experience.  I also understand that weight loss surgery for most is a life saving operation that can extend life and drastically improve its quality.

There is a local bariatric surgeon (who shall remain nameless) who widely advertises his services on television, radio and on billboards.  The television commercials for this particular doctor have two women in them, one older, one younger and both of them talk about how their decision to have weight loss surgery changed their lives and they outline the reasons they elected to have surgery to help them manage their weight.

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Friday Five: NSV edition

I had a post crafted in my head earlier, but my brain was more busy thinking about the protein contents of various frozen meats available at Trader Joe’s this afternoon, so I’ll have to think about what it was I originally planned to write about.  This short Friday Five list will have to do for now.

Today’s Five is about non-scale victories I’ve had this week.  These are the things I have to remember for the days when the scale refuses to budge.  So here they are, in no particular order.

1.  My watch fits my wrist much better.  It actually slides around a bit and I can stick my index finger between my wrist and the band with room to spare.

2.  I’ve lost a pants size and am pretty close to losing another.  My shorts are already too loose and I find myself needing a belt.

3.  The seatbelt in my husband’s car fits me differently now.  Unfortunately, this also means that it chokes me because it rides up a little more.  Seems like some adjusting is in order.

4.  People are starting to notice the weight loss and complimenting me on how much smaller I look.

5.  I looked in the mirror today and am finally starting to see what shape I will probably be.  It was nice to see that I have a decent shot at being an hourglass shape.

I had a few other NSV’s but I’ll save those for a picture post later on.    What are you celebrating today?

Happy weekend, everyone!

Things I Wish My Doctor Prepared Me For, Part 1

I want to begin this post by saying that my doctor is truly phenomenal.  If I had to begin this process of weight loss via surgical intervention all over again (thank goodness I don’t!), I’d choose him again in a heartbeat.  Dr. Nicholson is affable, highly knowledgeable, warm, and has a good sense of humor.  He puts you at ease and answers all your questions in a no-nonsense manner, using data to support what he has to say–this is especially important to me as a scientist.  To be blunt, I appreciate that he doesn’t talk out of his ass.  When you decide that you’re going to have surgery to help you lose weight, you don’t want someone who is going to sugarcoat things for you.  Dr. Nick definitely does not do that–he is very honest about why bariatric surgery is a better alternative than remaining obese, what the risks and benefits of having surgery are, and what the risks of remaining obese are.  He also makes sure that you understand that he is not the only health professional you need to make this process work for you–he teaches you that behavior modification is necessary, that therapy is important, and that nutrition education is critical and provides recommendations for hand-picked professionals for you to choose to address each of these aspects of your care.

His bedside manner is also great–the day of surgery, I was totally nervous and jittery and he put me completely at ease by explaining everything that he was going to do and why he was going to do it.  As a biology teacher, I appreciate that he and I can converse about the science behind all the things he did and why he did them.  He did everything he knew to do to ensure my safety before surgery, during surgery and post-operatively.  Dr. Nicholson is a very thorough doctor who truly cares about his patients’ health and well-being.

He does not allow you to enter into any stage of the process with eyes wide shut, that’s for sure.  I appreciate that about him and the way he practices medicine.

Unfortunately I did not get to see him after surgery, as he is a very busy guy–he had 9 patients on my floor alone the day I had surgery!  So I did not have the chance to thank him for providing me with this fabulous tool that I plan to put to good use, especially now that I’m about to embark on the mushy food stage of my post-op diet.  I would say that overall, he did a really good job of preparing me for surgery and for some of what comes after.

But there were some things about this process that he did not fully prepare me for.

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The Range

scaleYesterday I hit one of what I know will be several milestones as I work to make this sleeve work to my advantage.  And because now I know roughly what kind of capacity my sleeve was designed to hold (thanks, operation notes!), I can plan accordingly for success.

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Obesity Research Update: Genes Affiliated with Severe Obesity


They were all fed the same diet…but only one is overweight.

A couple of papers regarding obesity research have come out in the past week that may be of interest if you are a science nerd like me.

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Monday Win, Diabetes Edition

So this happened this morning:

Ignore the date and time, as they are obviously incorrect.  I recently replaced the batteries and didn't reset the calendar or clock on my glucometer.

Ignore the date and time, as they are obviously incorrect because I took my glucose this morning after I got up. I recently replaced the batteries and didn’t reset the calendar or clock on my glucometer, durrr.

I haven’t had a fasting sugar that low since…ever.  At least not that I can recall.  Even when I embarked on my last non-surgical major weight loss effort, my fasting sugars were still 100-105, but never below 100.  When I was in the hospital two weeks ago for surgery, my fasting the morning of surgery was around 150, and every time after that my glucose was taken it was much higher.  That was due in part to the steroid I was given during surgery–my doc even said the tradeoff for no nausea was that my sugars would run high.

But under 100 fasting?!?!?!?!?  I’m stoked about this!  Now I can’t wait to have my labs done so I can see what my a1c will be the next time it’s measured in September (it was last done in June and a1c’s are typically done every 90 days).

I’m still on full liquids, and I imagine my fasting readings will change once I am cleared for pureed foods, as I will be adding back in some carbohydrates in the form of soft cooked veggies–zucchini, carrots, tomatoes.  We’ll see what effect they have on my glucose.  And really, their effect should be minimal compared to what potatoes, rice, bread and the like would do to my sugars.

I might just be able to go off my metformin sooner than my surgeon predicted.  I sure hope so. *fingers crossed*

Have I mentioned how much I love this sleeve of mine?