There are days when I feel like I have awesome restriction with my sleeve, and then there are days when I feel like a bottomless pit.
Today was a mix of both.
If you’re pre-op, you’ll find that once you move to eating regular food again after surgery that some foods will be tough to get down. You’ll also find that some foods fill you up much more quickly than others. These foods also happen to cause the pyloric valve (the valve opening to the duodenum from the stomach/sleeve; absent in RNY patients) to slam shut, causing fullness and satiety pretty quickly. For me, these foods are, in order of fullness generation time from fastest to slowest:
- fish (oily or not)
For example, I can eat a lot more fish than I can turkey or chicken. Thankfully, I have not had any trouble tolerating any meats post-op. This is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing in that my protein options are fairly wide open–I can eat just about anything. The curse is that I can eat pretty much anything I choose to. And again, 90% of the time, I make good choices about what I eat. I won’t lie; I’m not perfect–I eat bread from time to time. I eat crackers. I eat chocolate. I eat full-fat cheese. But most of the time, I think I make pretty good food choices. What I’m doing has worked well for me so far, and I don’t anticipate changing the game plan until I get to maintenance, which is a long way off for me. But I digress…
Then there are those foods that go down with no problems whatsoever–the so-called “slider” foods. These are foods that slip on by the pyloric valve and create pretty much little to no feelings of satiety or fullness unless eaten in great quantities. This is what we want to avoid as WLS patients since eating great quantities defies the purpose of the sleeve, a restrictive procedure. No point in eating things that just slip right on by your pyloric valve if all you’ll do is eat tons of it, right? And if you’re an RNY patient, eating these things may cause you to dump, which is not a concern of sleeve patients.
Every person’s list of slider foods is different. My list happens to include:
- beans (surprisingly)
- soft-cooked veggies (sadly)
- mashed potatoes
Note that these are foods typically high in starchy carbohydrates. While I eat these foods, I always make sure that I eat my protein first–that’s the priority. Then I’ll eat non-starchy veggies, if they’re on my plate, and finally, if there’s room, any starchy things on my plate (if they’re there). I really do try to eat my veggies first, because I miss them and now that I can’t eat them in the quantities I could eat them in before, I try to get them when I can. Today wasn’t such a good day for that, but there is always tomorrow. 🙂
I haven’t tried pasta, rice or other grains yet. I have not yet eaten chips and salsa–my Kryptonite–and I haven’t eaten tortillas either. There has not been the opportunity to do so, nor have I really wanted to, because I know that I have No. Control when eating those things. This is something I have to work on, because it is simply impractical to avoid those things for the rest of my life. I mean, Mexican food is my all-time favorite food! I grew up eating tortillas, corn chips, enchiladas, rice, beans, chile colorado…you name it, my folks fixed it and I ate it. Pre-op, my favorite restaurants were (and still are) Mexican joints. And not that Tex-Mex stuff (that’s good and all, but c’mon), I mean real, authentic Mexican food.
But I thought I’d share with y’all a little bit about sliders and how to handle them. Here are a couple of strategies I use:
- Protein first: Eat the protein on your plate first. This should be your priority, always. Especially if you are trying to meet your daily protein goals.
- Don’t keep them in your house: The only slider foods I keep in the house are Trader Joe’s frozen mashed potatoes and canned beans. I like TJ’s frozen mash because they are portion controlled–they come as little frozen disks (my husband calls them “potato scallops”) so I can count out 3 and be done with it. Canned beans go into soups so I’m not eating them alone. I refuse to bring crackers or chips into the house because I know I’ll do like I did pre-op and plunk down in a chair and graze on them. So if I eat crackers, it is when I go out to eat so that they come in a packet of 2–portion control!
These two things have helped me to avoid eating huge quantities of my slider foods. I mean, if you prioritize your protein first, there’s simply no room for much else unless you want to make yourself uncomfortably ill. And that is not why you had surgery or are considering it, is it? I know it’s not the reason I did it! My sleeve is a fantastical tool for helping me to control my portions, and while I know I still need work on dealing with the foods I can’t control myself around, I think I’ve handled that issue pretty okay so far.
Today’s eating was pretty good. I got in 87 grams of protein, and just under 50 grams of carbs which is a bit high for me, but I ate crackers and bread today. Yes, I gave into the carb cravings I’ve been having this week. But I’ve been walking my butt off all week thus far, and I’m running/walking in a fun run on Saturday so perhaps this is my version of carb loading. 😉