Things are different when you have a four ounce stomach instead of a big ole floppy handbag to fill with food. We used to save best for last, but now we’d better eat it first! Smart rules to live by. Share these tips with a bariatric friend or support group!
1. Sit at a Table
Before surgery, many of us inhaled our meal in front of the television or while standing over the sink. We ate from containers with a fork. It’s very important to put your portion on a small plate, sit down at a table and pay attention to what you are eating. Dine rather than eat – put out a napkin and fork and make the food look nice. People comment that after surgery food tastes better because they actually pay attention to what they are eating and enjoy the flavors.
Post ops buy a $6 salad then complain that vitamins & protein drinks are too expensive. People are pretty lazy these days. Cook some fresh food for yourself and your family, put the food on plates, sit down and have a a nice evening meal.
Try putting the fork on the table between bites. Chew well, eat slowly. Look for the signal that you are nearing fullness, so you can stop. Too big a piece of chicken swallowed before chewing well can get stuck in pouch for hours, not paying attention can put you in the too full zone and you will be MISERABLE until the offending food comes back up. TMI ALERT: When food comes up, there is triple the volume of what you ate plus foam and ropy slime. It totally ruins your day and is exhausting.
3. Plan an Occasional SF Dessert.
You don’t go from Little Debbie, Reese’s Cups and Ben & Jerry’s to NOTHING in a day and expect it to last forever. That’s not a plan. I knew I couldn’t live the rest of my life without a sweet, so I make an occasional sugar free dessert for my family and use very small dishes. In the past two months, I’ve made sugar free Strawberry Jello with raspberries, homemade Magic Sugar Free Strawberry Ice Cream, fresh fruit sauces, sugar free Vanilla Egg Custard. I have maintained control over not consuming sugar for over thirteen years and its because I shoot down cravings for sweets before they start with low calorie sugar free solutions.
4. Eat at Home.
Chain restaurants achieve consistency of flavors with the use of processed sauces and packaged components that have hidden ingredients like high fructose corn syrup food starches and fat. At home, when you roast a chicken thigh and pair it with a simple salad you know what is on the plate. There isn’t really anything for us at Olive Garden now that we can’t eat breadsticks dipped in Alfredo sauce.
There are generations of people who do not know how to feed themselves. If you are one of them, break the obesity cycle and begin to cook meals for yourself, your family and friends. It’s healthier for everyone in the house. We have hundreds of simple, easy to cook, tested recipes on our site. Here’s a Five Minute Bonus Recipe for Italian Meatball Soup. To a big pot, add a 32 ounce carton Swanson Tuscan Chicken Flavor Broth, a 15 ounce can of Hunt’s Petite Diced Tomatoes, a can of Progresso White Cannellini beans (rinsed and drained), a package of Aidells Italian Meatballs (near supermarket hot dog section). Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer five minutes. Ladle into bowls and add Parmesan. The Crowd Goes Wild. You did it!
6. Don’t Buy the Stuff You Don’t Want to Eat.
If there aren’t any diet killing snack foods in your kitchen, you can’t eat them. Bluntly, if you don’t buy CANDY CORN, you can’t eat CANDY CORN. If you don’t buy Doritos, you can’t eat Doritos. Get rid of all the foods that are unhealthy, full of carbs and sugar, or those that call your name and stop buying them. Your kids don’t need them either so don’t use the little angels as an excuse to throw them in the cart. Halloween is a tough one, as there will be candy EVERYWHERE for weeks and on November 1 everyone takes it to work. Buy sugar free Jolly Ranchers or Werther’s Originals and put them in a jar on your desk so you have SOMETHING while everyone else laments eating mini Snickers and Reese’s Cups.
7. Eat within 1 hour of Feet on Floor.
We all know this, let’s just DO IT. Skipping breakfast keeps the body in starvation mode. Break the fast and stoke the body with enough energy to burn some of that stored fat. Plus, that protein meal will keep you full until lunch time and on track for a planned day of eating. Bla bla bla… try it! Morning ain’t pretty in my house and what I find works for me is to make a small Inspire protein drink at the same time I pour my coffee. I take both back into my lair and sip until I am capable of being nice. While I like all the flavors, I am particularly fond of Caramel Latte and Vanilla.
8. Have Plan of Attack for the Restaurant.
The Outback has over 100 different things to order on their menu. The time to decide what you’ll be ordering is not necessarily at the table with the waiter standing over you describing the Steak & Crab special and talking up the 8000 calorie bomb aka ‘Bloomin Onion’. Almost all restaurants have websites and full menus online. Look in advance to get an idea of what appetizers or entrees will work for your surgery. It’s a lot easier knowing in advance that a small house salad comes with the meal and that you can order the Special Sirloin with broccoli. If your stop is spur of moment, unless you’re at a Waffle House there will be a Shrimp Cocktail, a mainstay of bariatric eating.
9. The Waiter does NOT know how the dish is cooked.
He also doesn’t know if the mango salsa has sugar in it. Assume it does and order something else. Find something on the menu that sounds moist or tender without restructuring the entire dish. It’s cool to ask if you can have broccoli instead of baked potato, the burrito served ‘naked’ without the tortilla, your dressing on the side, bring your shrimp appetizer as an entree, or have him take away the water glass so you don’t sip it with your food, but inventing a new dish or being super picky screws up the timing in the kitchen and everyone’s meal at your table will suffer. Trust Me, they will do things to your food if that server makes fun of you in the kitchen or if you are are a pain during a busy 7pm dinner service.
If all this is too much for you, remember that it takes time and patience. You have a solid seven to twelve months to learn new habits and you won’t have to be perfect to lose that first one hundred pounds. Then our choices and new habits or lack of change or new habits will influence how fast or IF we lose the rest. Even more important are the ten to thirty years that follow. We have to be willing to change the way we choose our food, the way we eat it, how we chew, not drinking when we eat, it comes down to creating a whole new life with food.