This weekend was a pretty busy one in my household. Lots of planning, cleaning, shopping and cooking for the week got done. While I was menu planning for myself this week–hubby is on soft foods, so ground beef, egg whites with cheese, applesauce and protein shakes are the order of the day for him for the next few weeks–I started to think about the nutrient balance I’m getting daily.
I’ve already written about how much I miss veggies, and how right now, there is a distinct lack of those in my diet. The absence of veggies is not for a lack of trying, believe me. Once I eat my dense proteins, there is simply no room for anything else in my sleeve. Unless I revert back to supplementing most of my meals with protein drinks to get in my required protein, I can’t fit veggies into my eating plan. But I’m trying–note the green chile sauce in my green chile casserole, and I did cook sausages with peppers and marinara for this week. I’m also going to give green beans a try this week with the barbecue chicken I made myself.
This brings me to the meat (ha!) of the post: should a post-op VSG diet be a low-carb diet? Or should it be more nutritionally balanced, keeping in mind that protein should always be the priority. This is something that both puzzles me and gives me fits.
If you cruise around the OH VSG board, most of the successful vets will preach the virtues of a 600-800 calorie diet that includes 80-100 grams of protein and between 20-40 grams of carbs daily. I was told at my last follow-up appointment that eating fewer than 800 calories daily would screw up my metabolism, and that I should be eating 800 calories as a minimum daily intake. I was told that if I ate between 800-1000 calories weekly, my weight loss would speed up. I was not advised as to carb grams, or fat grams for that matter, only protein. And I was told I was getting plenty since I get between 60-80 grams each day, and on some days even more.
Then I look at the plan given to me by my dietician, which doesn’t give a set amount of calories until one hits maintenance (between 1200-1600), but does encourage a variety of foods (oatmeal, fruits, yogurt–all things typically high in carbohydrates) be incorporated into one’s daily plan, so long as protein is first priority.
It is all pretty confusing. I can’t complain about the weight I’ve lost to date eating the way I have been eating–I think I’ve done pretty well so far. But I don’t feel right not eating more plants, especially given that I ate quite a lot of plant material in addition to my meat before I had surgery. Unfortunately right now I’m pretty limited as to what plant material I can have–it must be cooked pretty soft; raw veggies are not sitting really well in my sleeve right now. And I can only have a tiny amount each time.
I need to know that if I decide not to follow the pack on my eating plan–not doing ultra low carb, but keeping protein high–that I can still be successful. I’m not talking about going out and eating breads, pasta, tortillas and rice (things verboten per my surgeon)–I’m talking about having a bit of corn or mashed potatoes with my chicken breast every once in a while. Or eating a bit of broccoli and green beans with my shrimp or fish every so often. I need to know, can I still lose weight and eat carbs too? I don’t want to have to take a fiber supplement or something to make myself have BMs every day. I’ve been pretty fortunate in that I go at least once nearly every single day. I just want to enjoy a little veg and fruit each day as a part of my daily eating. I want balance in my eating, and the way I’m eating now is clearly not balanced, in my opinion. Will eating a more balanced approach slow down my weight loss? Probably. Will it make the weight come off slower? Probably. But I don’t necessarily want to lose it all so fast that I am left with unsightly sagging skin. The way I see it, the more slowly it comes off, the more chance my skin has at bouncing back a little. I’m already starting to see the trouble spots because of the loss of 70 pounds in 2 months, and I don’t like it. But hey, I’ve lost 70 pounds! So there is that.
It may be time to visit with my dietician again to have her help me with this because there is only so much advice from the interwebs one can absorb, filter out the good bits from the bullshit, and glean useful information from. I think I’ll give her office a call tomorrow morning on my planning period after I take my morning walk. I’ll get this figured out yet, and I’ll get the hang of this VSG life eventually!