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I have gathered and developed some crazy good ‘real life’ tips that have worked for many (cough cough sixteen) bariatric years. I hope they help you, no matter what mile marker you’ve reached in your bariatric journey.
More came up than went down!
What are real life tips? Well, those are tips by folks who LIVE IT as opposed to those who SAY IT. As an example, your nutritionist told you that you were ‘released to eat chicken’ so you stopped and had a chicken strip at Chick Fil A on the way home where it remained undigested in your pouch for almost 4 hours before you not only gaked up the small volume of chewed chicken but at least four times as much foam and slime. In addition you had to stop the car three times on the way home to throw up more slime into the bag. The Lesson? Your pouch was not following the same timeline as your surgeons program. We will say ‘told you so!’ Be wary of what folks tell you about early eating with bariatric surgery if they haven’t lived it.
The only difference? A smaller stomach!
It is easy to run off the rails as we have lived an most of our lives without surgery. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but after a while it is almost all back on our shoulders, just as it was before bariatric surgery. We are exactly the same person after surgery… with a smaller stomach. While it will be easier to lose weight the weight only stays away IF you change bad food habits (and exercise).
Most don’t know that 140 pounds may not be ‘gone forever’ and are even cocky about it because they are only two or five or seven years post op and that big life changing event has not yet hit the fan. They may have gained back a few pounds but they haven’t lived long enough for twenty pounds to turn into thirty, then fifty or if life really whacks you hard… seventy pounds or more. Bariatric surgery alone will hold back the water for a long time, but if you don’t do something about that raging river, the dam will eventually break.
Hard line means don’t go there
I am sixteen years RNY with a strong ‘hard line’ that I have never crossed. One that I can’t cross… that I won’t cross. I know that if I ever did, it would be over for me. If the Sugar Genie ever got out of the bottle what would stop me from baking and eating the German Chocolate Cupcakes I watched Ina Garten make on TV this morning? The fact I had horrifying body altering surgery stops me!
I obviously have ‘cereal killer’ food tendencies that I don’t act upon. Nothing would stop me with those German Chocolate Cupcakes. (the coconut pecan frosting actually) Therefore I have a hard line. I would never bake them or even consider having a bite of one. I stick to my little no sugar desserts and am genuinely happy with them. I have new foods to love that don’t take me where I don’t want to go!
Cucumbers are not Nilla Wafers & fudge doesn’t call my name.
It is critical to find that healthy balanced way to LIVE comfortably. We can’t always slap the box out of our husbands hands at the grocery store. It’s not fair. I was the one with the problem, shouldn’t my husband be able to have peanut butter on Nilla Wafers if he wants them? If Ty is going to buy a snack, I try and influence him to choose something that is far over my personal line where there is not a question as to whether I can have it.
My husband Ty bought a package of chocolate peanut butter fudge at Fresh Market about two weeks ago. It doesn’t phase me or temp me at all as it’s an absolute no without wiggle room. I choose to not have ANY. Yesterday he bought a bag of gum drops. I don’t care about them!
I’m all about that soft line
I know how much sugar is in food as I have become an expert over the years. Natural sugar is in a small dish of berries or half a crisp apple, but there are some foods with added sugar where even a bite is over the hard line. Sugar includes white, brown, maple, honey, fructose, white grape concentrate, in the raw, agave, cane juice, evaporated cane juice – none are ‘better for you’ than sugar – they ARE sugar – added sugar is bad.
While I may or may not choose to eat a bite of the custard from my husbands creme brûlée dessert after I have eaten steak (soft line) while dining out, I would NEVER take a bite with the crackly burnt sugar top (hard line). There is a subtle but big difference. Navigate and establish your own hard lines for your food life after surgery.
I negotiate deals with myself. It may sound nutty, but you might want to try it. “Susan, if you keep your mitts out of that bread basket before your meal arrives, you can tear off a piece of roll once you’ve eaten half of your salmon.”
The crazy part is that it works. Once I have eaten half my salmon, the satiety has kicked in that allows me to take control and NOT act upon my deal, even though I have permission as per the terms. Off the charts is that I know this is how it will end up when I make the deal. How’s that for outsmarting yourself?
Death of the 3 Bite Rule
There is no more ‘three bite rule’. It used to be “Bite 1 was a taste, bite 2 confirmed it was as good as you thought it would be, bite 3 was the goodbye.” That bit of early post op idealism seemed okay early on, weaned me off holiday food and got me to this point, but now I know better. It was not cool of me to encourage others to do it as it got many into deep water. It’s like a hand tossed margarita. One is good. Two is a lot of fun. But if you ever find yourself saying yes to a third one, you have just signed on for a 2am party night that you will regret for the entire week after if your head doesn’t explode first. If you don’t drink you won’t get this, but if you do it will be crystal clear.
What kind of bread?
Bread is not an issue as long as it is crummy supermarket stuff. I’m not going to blow my workouts over white bread, hot dog buns, a packaged tortilla or anything ordinary. However a warm loaf of semolina bread they are taking from the oven at Joes Italian Market? It is hard but I cant have it in the house. I gained weight back because I convinced myself that I could handle Everything in Moderation. I can’t. I wasn’t able to handle EIM before and bariatric surgery didn’t suddenly change that. Therefore, no more bakery artisans bread. It makes me hungry and I keep going back for more. Done.
The Panera Game
There isn’t one thing in my house at this moment calling my name. I am in a really good place with food. Losing 53 pounds and having worked both smart and hard to do it has changed my way of living. We eat at Panera Bread a lot because the food is ‘clean’ and there are healthy option. I even have a bit of an obsession going. For the first time in my life I am weighing food options based on something other than how much I get. I USED TO THINK ABOUT WHAT CHOICE WOULD GET ME THE MOST FOOD! While that is now embarrassing and shocking to me, you know exactly what I am talking about. Now, I think about getting something delicious that has protein and is really low in calories. I look at the calories and see how low I can go and still get something good. WHY would I want 400 calorie Tomato when Chicken Noodle is 80 Calories a cup. Done. I cant even bring myself to WANT it anymore.
Half a Power Chicken Hummus Bowl is 170 calories, 9 carbs, 18 protein and rockin delicious!
Half a Chicken Cobb Salad is 270 calories, 5 carbs, 20 protein and is wonderful!
Half a Greek Chicken Salad is 270 calories, 7 carbs, 17 protein and yummy!
A Chicken Lentil Quinoa Broth Bowl is 370 calories, 50 carbs (if you eat it all), 33 protein and CRAZY GOOD!
IF this article speaks to you. Join me in getting Back on Track, round two. I am losing another 20 pounds. Resolve. Will not stop until I do it. If you’d like to do so as well, this is how… 5 Protein Drinks a day, plus ONE Healthy Protein Supper!