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Some of the Ugly – What Happens When You Don’t Follow Orders

Everyone is different with regard to how things will go for them following gastric bypass surgery.  And today’s post op lesson is all about how you should do what you’re told with regard to your body and the nutrition you require.

I struggled with what to eat, and as an option to conquer the fear of new foods and what they might do to me, I decided to eat only chicken noodle soup.  Yep, that was it.  I got up each morning, had coffee, then for lunch and dinner, I ate a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

If you do the math, the calories amount to something like “Did you live in Ethiopia?” or “You know anorexia is dangerous, right?”  I don’t think I ever had a day where I went over about 400 calories – until I started putting crackers in my soup.

So here’s basically what happens when you don’t do what you’re told.

Your hair is going to fall out.  In big clumps.  It will feel like something is running down your back when you stand in the shower, and your plumber will become your new best friend, as he shows off the new Mercedes your clogged drain has allowed him to buy.

I didn't color my hair for fear I'd be bald afterwards.

Your nails will become brittle.  And by brittle, I mean Sally Hansen will call you and tell you to stop using her Hard As Nails because you are bad advertising for her product.  On the other hand, your nail salon owner will become your new best friend, as she shows off the new Mercedes your frequent trips to the salon have allowed her to buy.

Your skin will become dry and lack color.  People will call you Elvira (for those of you too young to remember her, it’s what vampires looked like before they were all sparkly), and they will tell you to get your pasty white arse to the tanning salon.

Why Yes, Those Are Painfully Small Wrists

You will lack energy.  Monday Night Football will become a distant memory, and the Late Night Movie for you will now be the one that starts at 4 PM.

Eventually, in my case, when my hair was so dry and crunchy you could use it to jump start the fire in your fireplace, my friends held an intervention and made me eat a banana.  At some point in this series, I will tell you where that led to, but at the time, just eating a bite of a banana was horrifying to me.  And the sugar in it made my face hot and flush.  And it was an awful feeling.  But I did it.

So, let’s recap.  Protein – remember that ugly little word?  Yeah, instead of making your plumber and nail salon owner your best friend, make it protein.  Vitamins – you need them.  Remember when I mentioned how little of what your body needs is going to come from your food?  Yeah, that means you need to take vitamins.  And I don’t mean a Flintstone chewable.  Quality food.  Eat good proteins first, veggies second, and skip the slider foods.  We’ll talk more about that next week.


What Happens When You’re Gastrically Altered – Protein and You, Perfect Together!

There are really only two words you need to know right now if you are recently post-op.  Pro. Tein.  Yeah, okay, so it’s only one word, but doesn’t it look much easier to swallow broken up that way?  Good, because for some of us, protein is not easy to swallow at all, and we spend a good bit of time in those early post-op days trying to find creative ways to get it in.

Your surgeon should tell you that you are going to need something like a bazillion grams of protein.  Well, alright, not quite that much.  But you should know that now that you’re bypassed, you are only going to be able to absorb about 25 – 50% of the nutrients you actually consume.  What did she just say?  Yeah, I said it.  You’re only going to get half of what you need in your food – the rest becomes, well, you know what the rest becomes.  There is no way you can eat enough food to get all of the nutrients you’re going to need.

And guess what?  That bazillion grams of protein, well, it might as well be, because to some of us, the 100 – 140 grams we need is just as hard to get in as the bazillion!

Remember when you were trying to get your kids to eat their vegetables, and you’d mash them up into spaghetti sauce or puree them and add them to your meatloaf, or you dredged them in batter, fried them in oil, and drowned them in cheese sauce?  Yeah, well, that’s the kind of creative thinking you might need now.

My best advice on the protein thing is sample.  If you belong to a Weight Loss Surgery support group, suggest a protein exchange.  Everyone can bring in zip-top bags with one portion of their favorite protein shake and you can swap them.  It saves you from investing upwards of $25 for a can of protein, only to find out you hate it.  Visit websites like www.vitalady.com and order samples of things you think you’d like.  And keep in mind – not all vanillas are the same.  If vanilla is your thing, order samples from two or three companies.  Some are super sweet, some of them don’t seem to blend well, and some are just way too chalky.  So if one brand of vanilla doesn’t work, don’t assume you all of a sudden hate vanilla.

But don’t be surprised if you do!

You know what I did before I went to the hospital?  I stocked up on Jello and chicken broth for my liquid diet stage.  Who knew that I’d come home from the hospital hating Jello and chicken broth?  So even if you’ve experimented before surgery to see which shakes you like, don’t buy them in bulk.  I had no idea that some things would be so offensive tasting to me after surgery.  I learned the hard way there really is always room for Jello – in my trash can 🙁

And did you know you can experiment with protein shakes?  Why, yes you can!  If it just doesn’t taste quite right with just the plain protein, add a half of a banana.  Throw in a little peanut butter.  Vanilla is better with a splash of orange juice added.  You can add flavored coffees, flavored syrups, fresh or frozen fruit – haven’t you always wanted to be a bartender?  Now’s the time to try your hand at mixed drinks!

Oh – and all protein is NOT created equal!  Sugar is not your friend, so you want to avoid shakes that contain lots of sugar.  The type of protein is pretty crucial too.  I’ve found through research and personal experience that the best one for us gastrically twisted sisters (and brothers) is Whey Protein Isolate.

So, bottom line – play with your food (or at least with your drinks), drink everything that’s put in your cup, and take your vitamins, so you’ll shrink to be littler and strong!

49 Days Post-Op

Gastric Bypass Surgery – What Happens When You’re Gastrically Altered?

Yep, that’s me.  It’s July 2006, just one week before my  Roux-en-y gastric bypass surgery.  Yeah, I tipped the scales at over 300 pounds.  I was a big fat ass.  Can you believe I thought I looked good in this photo?  Can you imagine what photos of me that I didn’t like looked like?

But making the decision to alter your body so drastically is only the beginning of the decisions you’re going to have to make.  Let’s hope you’ve done your research, you’ve checked out the doctor and the hospital you are going to work with, and you feel confident – if a little nervous – about your decision to have your surgery.  But what comes next?

I’ll be posting a series of blogs to help you get through some of the post op stuff – the stuff you may not have had a chance to talk about with your surgeon.  We’ll talk protein (blech!), we’ll talk losing your drawers when you sneeze because they’re too big, we’ll talk about adding exercise and how important it is, and we’ll talk about plastic surgery – because, honestly, it’s where a lot of us end up.

So stay tuned.  Once a week, we’ll tour that unknown world of what to do once you’re gastrically altered!


Muscle Milk – Lunch of

Fat asses  Champions!  Yeah, that’s what I meant to say.

So the “I’m getting serious about losing weight” thing a few months ago?  That took a back seat to “Holy Jesus, did I sign up for SEVEN classes this semester?  We’re ordering Chinese. Or Pizza. Or Burgers.”

And here I am, after an initial super job at losing the weight, finding it back again 🙁

Oh, and did I mention, I have a life insurance physical in two weeks?  And when I actually applied, I put the weight that I WANT to be on the application?  You know – it was like going to the DMV, when you put the weight that you were when you got married – but there, the guy taking your picture just snickers and snaps the photo of your triple chins, hoping the cops that pull you over don’t think you are driving with fake ID.  With an insurance physical, the nurse is coming armed with a scale.  And I don’t think I can get naked in front of her, claim it’s water weight, tell her I ate ball bearings for breakfast (maybe if it wasn’t a fasting physical?), and wish for the best.

So, I’m on a SERIOUS serious diet this time.  Breakfast, Muscle Milk protein shake, and something protein-y for dinner.  Yum.

Protein shakes are not my friends.  Post gastric bypass, I was supposed to be living on them, but they’re yucky.  No one wants to live on yucky.  I found one I could tolerate, but only if I doctored it up with instant flavored coffee and fruit and junk.

I bought Muscle Milk Light this afternoon, to use as my midday meal.  I opted for the Vanilla Creme flavor, thinking that if I needed to add stuff to it to make it palatable, more stuff goes with vanilla.

The first thing you notice when you open the container is that it is VERY vanilla.  It’s sweet and pleasant smelling, as opposed to some, which are very chemically smelling.  I mixed two scoops with a little less water than you’re supposed to, but I always do that, so I don’t have to drink as much 🙁  Without tasting it “plain”, I added a spoonful of peanut butter – old habits die hard 😉  Then I filled the cup with ice and made my shake.

The drink, even with the peanut butter is REALLY sweet.  It’s not necessarily a bad sweet, but it’s definitely sweet.  The vanilla is stronger than the peanut butter, so I don’t really taste the one tablespoon full of peanut butter that I added – but adding two will add too many calories.  The two scoops of Muscle Milk are 210 calories, with a generous 25 grams of protein.  With only two grams of sugars, it’s a great option for the gastrically altered who dump on too many sugars – total carbs are only 13.

I think the next time I make it, I might throw in a bit of orange juice instead of the peanut butter, making it more of a creamsicle type of drink.  It will help cut the vanilla sweetness a little, and make it more of a summery drink than the disappearing peanut butter did.

Just in case, I bought the smaller container, but I’d definitely buy this again.  I think I could drink it straight if that was necessary, but I think it will adapt well to other added flavors.