Catching Up: Daily Bites and Navigating Holiday Eating Hell

I’ve been absent from this space for more than usual this week, but as I posted yesterday, work got in the way of life.  And now…I can breathe again.  At least until January 6, when we start spring semester.

I knew going into this final week of the semester, things at work would be challenging, food-wise.  Why? you might ask yourself.

Have you ever been on a high school (or any school, for that matter) campus during the month of December?


And very seldom is it truly GOOD food.  It sure as shit isn’t healthy.

Last week on my campus, the PTSA hosted a dessert bar for us, which I decided to avoid.  Our PALS (peer mediation class) hosted a teacher appreciation breakfast, where they served yogurt parfaits, pancakes, pastries and coffee for the faculty.  I skipped that one too, for multiple reasons.

This week, one of my co-workers baked chocolate chip cookies.  Her chocolate chip cookies are some of the very best I have ever eaten, and pre-op, she would always bake extra so that I could have some to bring home for me and my hubby.  I went into her room the other day to ask her something and she mentioned that she’d baked them and then said, “But I didn’t know if you were ready to have one yet.”  I shook my head no, because I’m just not there yet.  I don’t binge eat sweets, but damn…her chocolate chip cookies are one thing that I really would just eat mindlessly if given any quantity of them so it was best for me to walk away from them, which was hard to do.   But I did it, thinking courage over comfort the entire time.

My department had a holiday party one evening this week at my principal’s house and we were instructed to bring a finger food to share.  I decided to bring something I knew would be sleeve friendly and that others would eat too.  I won’t lie–I was selfish in planning to bring grilled chicken skewers because I knew that there would be little else I could eat while I was there.  You know how holiday parties go–cocktail weenies in barbecue sauce, cookies out the wazoo, chips and dips, so on and so forth.  I wanted to be sure I could remain on plan as much as possible so on that particular day, I didn’t eat my mid-afternoon snack so that I could have food at the party.  It worked.  When I arrived and unpacked the chicken skewers, everyone was pleased to see something different.  I got to eat a piece of chicken with a little sauce, cheese cubes, and a few pumpkin seed crackers.  A win overall, I think.  An insight I had, though:  I think I need to learn how to socialize without food.  This one will be tough since so much of how I spend time and have spent time with family and friends revolves around eating and food.  This is something I want to work on in the upcoming year.

We also had our faculty luncheon this week, which is always catered in and traditionally is either barbecue, Mexican, or Italian.  This year, there was quite the change of pace–we had grilled teriyaki marinated chicken breast, steamed veggies, brown and wild rice, and dinner rolls.  Definitely not our usual!  But I was grateful that there were healthy options available.   I was able to have lunch, stay on my plan, and be satisfied with the choices I made.

If you are a teacher, then you know that students will sometimes bring you gifts of food.  And again, it is rarely GOOD food.  That was certainly true this week.  My students, God love them all, brought me all manner of non-plan foods.  And what did I do with them?

I won’t lie.  I kept some of them.  I picked and chose a select few things I knew I could exercise portion control with.  Ghirardelli chocolate squares?  Easy.  One of them is 60 calories, 4 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of protein.  I do not have a hard time controlling my eating of things like chocolate.  One little taste is enough to satisfy me, and then I’m done with it.  I kept only the really, really good stuff, because if I am going to budget for something like that, it had better be quality stuff, dammit.  They will take me a couple of months to eat, assuming that I don’t give away some of them when school starts up again in January.  This is likely to happen, as I gave away some of my chocolate last week as it began coming in.

But the savory things…I ditched those in a big hurry because I know I will eat them mindlessly.  I pawned them off on the kids, who gladly ate them and left what remained of them in the lounge for our custodians so they would not go to waste.

And…while I’m fessing up:  I did sneak in a couple of treats this past week.  I made sure that before I had the treats that I had room in my calorie budget for them, and that I’d consumed my minimum protein goal for the day.  If I didn’t meet my protein goal for that day, then I didn’t let myself have one.  Before you think that I was rewarding myself with food, that’s not how it worked at all.  I am working hard to make sure that I don’t do that–I am not a dog.  I have my feet planted very firmly in the moderation eating camp, meaning that while I understand this golden portion of the weight loss phase is critical, I can’t sequester myself away from ALL the foods that I will encounter in my life that aren’t on plan.  I know this is a really unpopular way to sleeve, but you know what?  I have to do what works for me, and what is working for me right now is moderation.  I am meeting or exceeding my minimum protein goals daily (remember I aim for 80 grams daily as a minimum), I hit my calorie target pretty much every day, I drink nearly a gallon of water each day, and I move my chunky butt a little every day.  I’m doing what works for me and my life.  Your mileage may vary.

I have 6-month post-op labs for my PCP coming up, as well as my 6-month surgeon’s follow-up.  I’m getting really excited about both of those because I have a feeling good things are going to happen.  But we’ll see.  I’m most anxious about the labs.  I hope that my iron levels are back up, and that everything else is kosher with my blood chemistries.  I won’t know until the week of New Year’s.  I’ll have my labs drawn after Christmas.

I wanted to catch up on posting my Daily Bites since I hadn’t done that since Monday.  I think I’ll do it in gallery form since it is a lot of pictures.  One thing I did do that I think helped me this week:  I made sure my breakfast every day had a minimum of 20 grams of protein.  Most days, breakfast had 22-26 grams.  This helped my satiety tremendously.   I also made sure I drank water like it was my job.  But then again…it kind of is. 🙂

2 responses to “Catching Up: Daily Bites and Navigating Holiday Eating Hell

  1. Hi there! Just wanted to tell you that I really, REALLY like your approach to eating post-sleeve. While I have absolutely no intention of deviating from my surgeon’s instructions once I’m sleeved, I don’t want to become fanatical about everything that I put in my mouth. I figure that if my “diet mentality” worked in the past, then I wouldn’t be needing the surgery to begin with. Who cares if this is an unpopular way to sleeve? The route you’re taking is obviously working for you. Kudos to you for finding an approach that works which is obviously saving your sanity at the same time. What happens to me post-sleeve still remains to be seen, but I think the moderation route is going to work well for me also. Going to stay tuned!

    • The way I see it, I have to eat for life. Life that I hope lasts a really, really long time now that I have a fighting chance at prolonging because I’ve managed to lose a great deal of weight. For me, the plan espoused by some of the folks on the OH VSG board does not work for me. I had brain fog, was actually more hungry when I did it, and my losses slowed down considerably. When I told my doc’s PA what I was doing, she said I’d wreck my metabolism and I’d actually lose weight faster if I increased my calories to 800-1000. So I did. And you know what? It has worked beautifully so far. The only change I made to my doc’s plan was that I increased my protein intake to a minimum of 80 grams daily. This approach works for me but may not work for everyone.

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