May 16

Clean Up Your Act – You’ll Be Surprised

girl eating cookie secret guilty

Curiosity or food addiction? Be honest.

I’m sure there are many of you who stick to the rules. I did for two years. I never waivered.

Then, I fell prey to what many weight-loss-surgery patients encounter — curiosity. What might I be able to eat, that’s a no-no?

A little:

  • Chocolate
  • Bread
  • Cookies

As I pushed the limits more and more, I seemed to get a little accustomed to the discomfort that came with the type of eating — fueling my food addiction.

A little:

  • Gastric distress
  • Sweats
  • Diarrhea

Not until I decided to change my diet,  for other reasons than weight or my gastric bypass surgery, did I realize how miserable I really was. I was not only cheating on what I ate, but how much and how fast.

After a week of only fresh protein, veggies and fruits, I was feeling great. Energetic, no discomfort or runs to the bathroom. No cramps. I slept well.

woman eating pizza

Jumping ship. No, no, no. Why feel crappy when you can feel great?

Then I jumped ship again. Last night I has some pizza — not with cauliflower crust and good ingredients, but fast food pizza. Within an hour, the sweats started. I was just an unhappy camper then and this morning.

But, I was also struck by clarity. A clean diet is simply wonderful from every aspect. When I eat right, I feel great. And, I’m not guilty every minute, so I’m mentally healthier too.

So, I’m cleaning up my act. Maybe you ought to try it and see if you’re also pleasantly surprised.

 

 

Feb 27

How Much Weight Will I Lose After Weight-Loss Surgery?

Determining your potential weight loss from weight-loss surgery is simple math, based on success data — averages for all procedures, not just gastric bypass. Gastric-bypass patients generally enjoy the most weight loss, even a little higher than the average used below.

Results are based on your weight at two years post surgery.

I enjoyed doing the math on my own, using the steps below. The anticipation was fun.

Identify Your Ideal Weight

Use this calculator. Trust me, you don’t want to try to do this math.

Calculate Your Excess Weight

Subtract your ideal weight from your current weight.

275 (current) – 148 (ideal) = 127 (excess)

Figure Your Expected Weight Loss

Multiply your excess weight by 70 percent (data shows this is the average amount of excess weight loss over all procedures).

127 (excess) x .70 (percent) = 88.9 (expected weight loss)

happy heavy woman

Can you imagine your life?

Determine, Joyfully, Your Post Weight-Loss-Surgery Weight

Subtract the expected weight loss from your current weight. Voila!

275 (current) – 88.9 (expected) = 186 is your expected post-surgery weight.

 

If you just hate math, here’s the immediate answer calculator.

 

 

 

Feb 12

Eight Questions Five Months After Weight Loss Surgery

Back in Feb. of 2013, I had questions, lots of questions. I was just five months post weight-loss surgery and although I’d paid incredibly good attention during my six month educational period there was so much to remember and learn. I also experienced some challenges post-op that threw me for a loop.

I wrote down eight questions at the time — for this post. But I never finished the post until today, 3-years 5-months later.

The answers are based on my experiences. Remember, I’m not a doctor — just a patient and person trying to live the healthy weight-loss-surgery lifestyle

1. How much weight loss is too much?

BMI body mass index calculator

Body Mass Index (BMI) is used by the health community to determine obesity as well as healthy weight. What’s yours?

I know exactly why I had this question. After hearing about my obesity from my mother, for years, she was questioning my incredible weight loss — just five months after surgery. My angst over my mom is a whole other story, but she kept saying I wasn’t losing at a healthy pace.

My advice – rely only on your doctor and nutritionist to tell you what is healthy and what it not. My doc wanted me to get to 145. I wanted to get to 135. I’m now 115-120, and doing great. My Body Mass Index (BMI), which is used to determine the healthy weight of a person, is perfect. I’m at 20.3 which is the lower end of the normal scale. If I got down to 105, I’d cross the line from normal to underweight.

2. Can I eat fresh fruits now or do I have to watch some for sugar content and/or consistency?

Sugar is the outright enemy. It can make me sick and causes weight gain. I try to stick to my nutritionist’s recommendation of portions with no more than 6 grams of sugar. So, that cup of fruit, even with natural juices not syrup, is too much. Even some yogurts – touted as the best thing since, well not sliced bread, cuz sliced bread is bad, but you get my drift – have tons of sugar. Read labels, read labels, read labels.

As to consistency, anything with seeds, like blackberries, or a stringy consistency, like pineapple, were not and still are not in my diet. I love them both but they cause issues.

3. Do I need to be concerned with the sugar alcohols in foods/drinks?

Sugar alcohols is one type of reduced-calorie sweetener. Sugar alcohol is important for diabetics to understand.

Artificial sweeteners are used in many sugar-free and no-sugar-added foods. They are not always healthy.

The Joslin Diabetic Center days, “Many so-called “dietetic” foods that are labeled “sugar free” or “no sugar added” in fact contain sugar alcohols. People with diabetes mistakenly think that foods labeled as “sugar free” or “no sugar added” will have no effect on their blood glucose. Foods containing these sugar alcohols need to have their calorie and carbohydrate contents accounted for in your overall meal plan, as it is carbohydrate that raises blood glucose levels. Since many people typically overeat sugar-free” or no-sugar-added foods, their blood glucose may be significantly elevated.”

For those of us who do not have issues with blood sugar levels, sugar alcohol is usually not an issue. But then many of the sweeteners are lousy for us. I’ve quit using Equal, Splenda and the like. I use Stevia or Truvia.

4. Grilled foods — flat grill vs. open flame grill?

The Livart Grill can be used indoors and out.

My nutritionist told me either is fine. I’m an open-flame kind of gal but found the coolest indoor grill that I now use for everything. My BBQ grill is jealous. The Livart Grill is usually priced about $79 – $100 but you can get it on sale from time to time on Amazon. I just (2/2017) paid $56 for a second grill.

It will cook two to three steaks, burgers, chicken breasts and does so with practically no smoke. I use it indoors and out now. So easy to clean. No fuss.

5. Fats  fried foods — will they make me sick?

What makes us sick is 100-percent personal. Fat is not my friend because it makes us fat. Fat is also sometimes not a friend of my tummy. I can eat a little fried chicken if it’s not greasy, but I try to stay away. Fat is just fattening.

6. I’m eating about a cup of food per meal now  sometimes more. Is that OK?

I’ve found this was entirely OK. But, I also learned not to push it. I can tell when I’m full; and when I am, I have to stop eating. I also have to eat protein first, which tends to fill me up quickly, where vegetables/salads seem like I’m eating nothing. I try to balance my meals.

Portion 8 containers and portion plates help you stay focused on correct portions and the importance of protein.

Early on I found a portion plate or portion container was very helpful. Actually I still need to look at it or use it from time to time to get back on track.

7. I’m afraid to exercise. I don’t want to lose more weight? What should I do?

I am at a point where I don’t want to lose any more weight and calorie-burning exercise worries me still. I can’t eat more than I do, so replacing calories seems like a tough challenge. My solution has been to enjoy low impact exercising to stay healthy. I walk, swim and lift very light weights for toning. A few sit ups and stretching are great.

8. What about hot dogs, pasta, fast foods — remind me?

Worthless foods, that’s what I call them. Poor nutrition, plain and simple. If I do end up wanting pasta or even fast food, I choose very carefully. I’ll get a grilled chicken sandwich and throw away the bread. I order pasta that have very little pasta with meat and cheese – to get protein and my pasta fix.

 

 

Share your questions with us in the comments area below. Or visit us on Facebook and post your questions.

 

 

Jan 09

The Liquid Diet Before Weight-Loss Surgery

Ok, you’re finishing up your six months of prep for weight-loss-surgery. Don’t blow your progress now by failing to adhere to your medical team’s orders to follow an all-liquid, pre-weight-loss-surgery diet.

Discuss your liquid diet carefully with your surgeon and nutritionist. It is usually recommended for seven to 14 days before surgery, and includes two types of liquids, full and clear liquids.

The liquid diet promotes weight loss but, most important, helps reduce liver size making the surgery easier to perform and thus more successful. If your liver is too large, performing surgery may be unsafe. Your surgery could be cancelled and rescheduled.

Going all liquid means paying attention to proper nutrition. Your doctor/nutritionist will tell you to drink several protein shakes daily to meet a goal of 60- to 80-grams of protein per day. Additionally, most patients also are directed to take supplements prior to surgery.

full liquid diet before weight-loss surgery

Full liquids and clear liquids are different. Make sure you know what you can and can not drink.

A full liquid diet is made up only of fluids and foods that are normally liquid and foods that turn to liquid when they are at room temperature, like ice cream. It also includes strained creamy soups, tea, juice, Jell-O, milkshakes, pudding, and popsicles.

A clear liquid diet consists of clear liquids — such as water, broth and plain gelatin — that are easily digested and leave no undigested residue in your intestinal tract.

If you’re wondering what liquids to eat, here are some generally approved liquids for each phase of the pre-op diet.

Start the Pre-Weight-Loss-Surgery Diet with Full Liquids

  • Hot Cereals (i.e. oatmeal, grits, cream of wheat)
  • Creamed Soups
  • Yogurt
  • Pudding
  • Milk
  • Custard
  • Sherbet
  • Protein Shakes

Finish the Pre-Weight-Loss-Surgery Diet with Clear Liquids

  • Water
  • Diluted Juices (fruit or vegetable)
  • Broth-Based Soups
  • Gatorade or Generic Equivalent
  • Flavored water
  • Unsweetened Tea or Coffee (my physician eliminated all forms of caffeine)
  • Crystal Light
  • Sugar-Free Beverages
  • Sugar-Free Jello
  • Sugar-Free Popsicles

A daily meal plan for the patient’s pre-op liquid diet may look like this:

Pre-operative sample meal plan table.

 

Recommendations Page from the University of Florida Health: https://ufhealth.org/sites/default/files/media/Weight-loss-center/Liquid_Diet_Before_Bariatric_Surgery.pdf

 

 

 

Sep 30

7 Common Weight-Loss Surgery Nutritional Problems and Prevention Tips

Weight-loss surgery (WLS)  patients who promote the belief that surgery and life after are bliss are, in my opinion, either the luckiest people around or are not telling the whole truth.

Living life post WLS takes effort and there are bumps in the road. I also believe successes and challenges are primarily related to nutrition.

I’m not gonna lie, I know what I should eat, but I don’t always do what I’m supposed to do. And, I experience one or more negative results from my behavior from time to time.

I found a great article on the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine on long-term management of patients after weight loss.

Among the interesting information were seven common nutritional challenges WLS patients encounter. Although many of us have heard this information before, revisiting the basics is a great preventative practice.

Fatigue after weight loss surgerySome Nutritional Challenges After Weight-Loss Surgery

 

  1. Nausea and vomiting as a result of overeating or eating too quickly. Eliminate the problem by eating slowly, chewing each (small) bite 25 times, and stopping eating when you are or feel full. For some, the best way to circumvent nausea and vomiting is to eat exact proportions (2-3 ounces of protein, half a cup of fruit and half a cup of veggies) at every meal, rather than relying on a sense of fullness.
  2. Chronic malnutrition is an issue post surgery because nutrients are absorbed differently following surgery. Fatigue, aching muscles and tingling feet, calves, or hands are signs of malnutrition.  A healthy diet and continuous focus on getting all prescribed vitamin and mineral supplements are critical to combating nutrition issues. Also head to the doctor for testing annually.
  3. Dumping syndrome is suffered by gastric-bypass, weight-loss-surgery patients. It’s caused by food emptying too quickly from the stomach into the small intestine. Symptoms include cramps, nausea, flushing/sweating, rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness and sometimes diarrhea. Eating certain foods makes dumping syndrome more likely. For example, refined sugars rapidly absorb water from the body, causing symptoms. Symptoms may also happen after eating dairy products and certain fats or fried foods. Change your food choices and do not drink for at least 30 minutes after eating.
  4. Temporary hair loss is common among WLS patients. The most common type of hair loss after weight-loss surgery is a diffuse loss known medically as telogen effluvium, which can have both nutritional and non-nutritional causes.It’s usually caused by rapid weight loss and/or lack of protein or vitamins/minerals. Getting the 60 – 100 grams of protein daily and taking the regiment of supplements outlined by your physician is a first step to prevention.
  5. Dehydration is caused by insufficient fluid intake or by persistent vomiting. If you notice dark and strong-smelling urine, dry mouth, headache, fatigue or dizziness when standing or sitting dehydration may be an issue. Gulping liquids when thirsty is not the solution. Doing so can cause stomach discomfort and nausea. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times. Sip constantly. Get 64 ounces of liquid daily.
  6. Lactose intolerance causes gas, bloating, cramping, and diarrhea. It’s caused when the body can’t easily digest lactose, a type of natural sugar found in milk and dairy products. Lactose Intolerance is not extremely common, however, if you suffer, drink/eat small amounts of milk/dairy products, use lactose-free or lactose-reduced products, or try soy milk.
  7. Constipation becomes a problem when the intake of food and fiber is reduced following surgery. It’s also often caused by opiate/pain medication. Drink lots of water, exercise frequently, eating sugar-free applesauce, oatmeal, or prunes daily and/or take a fiber-based supplement (as recommended by your doctor).

 

 

 

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