Monday, May 27, 2013

"I don't care if you eat 10,000 calories..."

As alluded to earlier today, my pre-op diet for the Gastric Sleeve surgery consists of 10 days of eating no more than 50g of carbs each day.  That's it.  Really.  While cooking bacon and packing some food for my 12+ hours of commute and work tomorrow (hard boiled eggs, chunks of pepperjack and cheddar cheese, assorted nuts, lunch meat and bacon - coming in at a total of 15g of carbs), my doctor's quoted line in the title of this blog came to me again.  When I questioned my doctor about eating platefuls of bacon while on this pre-op diet, as bacon is a zero carb food, despite the massive calories and fat grams that would introduce to my system, he told me, "I don't care if you eat 10,000 calories, just no more than 50 grams of carbs!"

According to him and my nutritionist, we have a warped view of how food is processed in our body.  And, of course, the weight loss industry takes advantage of those misconceptions.  I couldn't quite wrap my head around why my doc would be okay with me eating two of the big three macronutrients (fat & protein) in unlimited quantities, yet swearing off their counterpart carbs.  He explained that his goal in my pre-op diet was not to have me lose weight (although, inevitably, he says I will anyway), but it's to shrink my liver so that he has easier access to my stomach.

So why does this pre-op diet do that?  For a longer explanation, read here.  For the short explanation, one of the liver's jobs is to process carbs - it gets plenty, then distributes the excess as fat to my upper arms, stomach, butt, thighs, etc.  When I starve the body of carbs, it has no choice but to process the fat in the liver for energy.  Ta-da!  Shrinking liver and, inevitably, shrinking waist line.  Google it - you'll find many a research article with similar proofs as doctors and scientists work to treat Fatty Liver Disease, obesity and other diseases.

Of course, this low-carb diet is not the "plan" for the rest of my life.  My nutritionist and doctor believe in a balanced approach to eating, with a focus on protein and healthful foods.  While I'll spend the first couple of weeks post-op on liquids (mainly water and protein shakes to aid in hydration and healing), my diet will eventually return to normal - with much smaller quantities.

As I discussed with my mother on her visit here this past weekend, my obesity has never been a problem of healthy vs. unhealthy foods.  In reality, I make a lot of "good" choices in my nutrition, from fat-free milk to sugar-free creamers (when not drinking black coffee), to ground turkey vs. beef, etc.  My problem has largely stemmed from an inability to control my portion sizes.  Bariatric surgery is the tool, the forced behavior modification, that eliminates that issue.  From then on, it's up to me to continue positive choices in my nutrition and making sure my body gets what it needs to survive.  Admittedly, I don't always make healthy choices - the Chipotle steak burrito and chips/salsa I had for dinner tonight are evidence of that.  However, I'm from the camp that believes no food should be sworn off from someone's intake if they want to eat it.  Have ice cream - in moderation.  Have nachos - in moderation.  Recognize that moderation speaks to both the frequency and quantity of intake.  Life requires balance in all aspects of our lives for happiness and success; our nutrition is no different.

Bring on the pre-op diet and a slimmer, stronger, healthier Joia!


  1. Great post. I suffer from the portion control issue....I just eat too much...even of healthy things.

  2. I agree completely.... Great Post!

  3. I had to do a two-week liquid diet for my pre-op. I have not had solid food since April 30th. You're lucky! Positive choices are the key and as long as you know that, you will be fine. GOOD LUCK! GREAT POST!!