Still Learning My Tummy

Today my husband and I needed to run by the big and tall shop to get him some new skivvies. He has done incredibly well since his surgery in August, and it was finally time for him to get some new chonies as his old ones were starting to look like tennis skirts.  Next to the store is a Weight Watchers office–ever so strategically placed, I’m sure.  Seeing the office there stirred ire in me and I snapped this photo:


F you, Weight Watchers. You failed me multiple times on multiple levels.

I will have to spend some time writing about how much I truly detest the way WW does things, knowing what I know now about my own biology, the complex forces that drive hunger, and how my body handles weight loss.

Some of us are simply not wired to lose weight and keep it off the way that WW teaches you to–there are simply too many loopholes in the program, and the program is not holistic enough to address the complex behavior patterns that surround the act of eating.  I’ll let my ranting rest there, as I have other things of more importance to share tonight.

Today was proof that I’m still learning my new tummy and its idiosyncrasies.  I ate a lot of soft cooked veggies, most of them in either a soup or stew form.  Now I’d read that soups can be what are called “slider foods,” meaning that they can slip past the pyloric valve pretty easily since they are not dense at all.  This can be a bad thing because it can cause you to eat more than you normally would.  I’m learning quickly that soft cooked veggies, soups, and beans are slider foods for me.

For breakfast, I ate some leftover green chile stew, which was made with pork, tomatoes, carrots, green chiles (duh), potatoes and celery.  It was really good and quite filling, but the problem here is that because the vegetables are soft cooked (it is a stew, after all), they do not stay in my new tummy for very long at all.  Thankfully there was enough meat in the stew to keep my pylorus clamped shut for a little bit.  The problem of soup being a slider food didn’t really turn on the light bulb in my head until this evening, when we went out to dinner for a friend’s birthday at an Italian restaurant.  I’d previewed the menu to see if there was sleeve-friendly fare (there was) and my husband and I agreed to split a plate that was grilled chicken breast and mixed vegetables (peppers, mushrooms).

Pre-surgery, dinner consisted of appetizers, soup and then the entree.  Sometimes dessert was eaten if both hubby and I felt like it.  Post-surgery, dinner out looks a whole lot different.  Nearly every time, dinner is a split entree of dense protein and non-starchy vegetables with leftovers to take home.

That didn’t happen this time.  Proof that I am still learning new habits and trying hard to shed old ones emerged.  I ate a little less than half of one of the meatball appetizers that was ordered for the table.  I avoided the cheesy garlic bread, even though I really wanted some!  So there’s that silver lining.

When my husband and I ordered the entree we’d planned to split, it came with a salad which neither of us wanted.  Foolishly I said, “Can we substitute the salad for soup?”  I wasn’t thinking, and a few minutes later a bowl of minestrone appeared.  I’d recently read that one of the ways eating soup should be approached was to drink the broth first and then eat the solids.  The broth will slip past the pylorus since it is liquid, and then the solids will cause it to shut tightly for a period of time, dependent on how dense the solids are.  I decided I’d give this strategy a try.  Well, this was minestrone, so it was all vegetables, beans, and pasta.  I picked the pasta out of the bowl and ate the beans and veggies.

Before I knew it, I’d eaten pretty much the whole bowl.  And I wasn’t yet full.  I wasn’t feeling good about what I’d done and I knew I needed more protein, so I ate the chicken breast slices I’d served myself from the larger entree–they were thinly sliced and pounded flat.  I estimated that there was likely 2 ounces of meat there, which I topped with 2 tablespoons of marinara to soften the meat a little more.  After I ate the chicken, my restriction kicked in and fullness ensued.  Not an uncomfortable fullness, but definitely a signal was sent to my brain to tell me to stop eating.

I failed my restriction; it did not fail me.

While I did not approach the amounts I could eat pre-surgery, I learned a couple of valuable things today:

  • Soups are a no-go for right now.  Perhaps in maintenance, which is still a long way off for me.
  • Unlearn the “you must have soup before eating” habit that was formed when I had a stomach that operated at full capacity–I adopted this habit when I heard that if you ate soup before a meal, you would not eat nearly as much.  BULLSHIT–you eat MORE!  Lies, all lies!
  • Eat vegetables that are more dense and that will keep me satiated for longer, like broccoli and asparagus.

Protein total for the day was good:  87 grams.   Fat was good:  30 grams, and carbs were a little higher at 55 grams, but nearly all of that was from the vegetables I ate today.


Today’s food choices, from upper right: thin slices of grilled chicken breast with marinara; part of a meatball and marinara; minestrone (minus the pasta–I didn’t eat it); Barbecue chicken breast with onions and a little cheese from Genghis Grill; Rudy’s green chile stew and Trader Joe’s sharp cheddar cheese cracker cuts (not shown); multivitamin and calcium supplements x2, vitamin B12, C, D and iron supplements (C and D not shown).

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