Thursday, May 30, 2013

Calling low-carbers!

How do you possibly maintain this lifestyle?  I'm not complaining, as I know my 10 days of "no more than 50g/day" are leading up to my sleeve surgery, but eating the same, basic menu is already getting old - and it's only day 3!  I'm clearly a carb-o-holic as I miss my Starbucks (yes, you can order low-carb, but your options are few), bread (had a lettuce-wrapped burger when out last night at Red Robin)...ugh.  I'm not looking for dazzling recipes since this is a temporary thing - I'll just continue to enjoy my home-packed lunches of hard boiled eggs, tuna, cheese, protein shake...blah.

My boss is buying lunch today since one of my colleagues is retiring after today - not knowing the carb count of the food he's getting, I'll stick with what I packed :).

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!

Ready for pre-op!

To say that I'm excited about my sleeve surgery next Friday is an understatement.  I don't know that I was as excited to have the LapBand surgery over three years ago, but I know that I'm heading into the sleeve surgery with my eyes wide open, my brain adjusted to the change, etc.  Tomorrow starts the ten days of pre-op diet for me which will allow the reality and mental preparation to sink in.  Friday I head to the hospital for my pre-op bloodwork, then it's a matter of completing a 4-day work week before I sleep and have surgery!

Can't it be June 7th already?!

Luckily, the next 11 days are fairly busy with events at work (end of the school year means the teacher's union is busy - and that's who I work for!), a retirement party, social events with friends, etc.  I'm eager for the days to fly by so I can begin the final restart of my weight loss journey!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

June 7th!

After completing a laughable psych exam (only laughable because of how true it was), I saw my bari-doctor this week to finalize plans for my Gastric Sleeve.  He had initially said I could have the surgery 8 weeks post-LapBand removal, but his schedule didn't have room that quickly.  Instead, it'll be 11 weeks post-LapBand on June 7th!  Coincidentally, that's my sister's birthday - yay!

I'm now in "prep" mode as I prepare for a permanent alteration to my stomach.  I've stocked up on protein powders, liquid soups, vitamins and supplements...the pantry in my kitchen looks somewhat medical with all of that in there!  I also did some shopping today for sippy cups (I'm about to rock some Tinkerbell!), chap stick, Gas-X strips (worked wonders after the LapBand surgery), a pillow to hold against my tummy while getting up/down and while riding home from the hospital...I think I'm about ready for this!

With less than three weeks to go, the only pre-op diet I've been asked to follow is to do low-carb (no more than 50g/day) starting 10 days before the surgery.  To prep for that, and to help mediate the pounds I've put on since LapBand removal, it's back to the FitBit and MyFitnessPal tomorrow (18 days pre-op) - might as well start reducing calories now!

I've also been reading...and reading...and reading over at VST to hear what other sleevers have to say, recommend and complain about.   The most compelling post I read today (don't know where I saw it, otherwise I'd post it) is one patient's reason for the sleeve.  She commented about how losing weight has never been a problem for her - it's the maintenance and lifestyle change.  I'd definitely agree!  Give me a goal, deadline, etc. that's not too long term and I can rock some weight loss.  But, old habits die hard and I'm quickly picking up large portions of unhealthy food...just because.  I don't know why.  I don't know why the long term goal of a healthier, happier me has been, thus far, unattainable.  I do know that I was trained to lick my plate clean as a kid, and the "chicken police" made sure I ate every morsel of chicken on the bone.  That train of thought stuck with me throughout my life - I eat too fast and I eat too much.  I just do.

The sleeve will finally give me the forced behavior modification I had hoped the LapBand would provide.  I originally went with the LapBand because I wasn't keen on permanent alteration.  However, the Gastric Sleeve surgery has come a long way since my first bariatric surgery and has plenty more to offer patients who need a tool to help them find a healthier relationship with food.  I'm convinced that I have a great team of doctors supporting me this time around, and I feel as though I learned many a lesson through the horrific experience that was my 3.167 years with the LapBand (2+ of that with a severe slip).

I am mentally ready for the challenge this time.  Therein lies all the difference.