Tuesday, January 1, 2008

What to Eat Tomorrow

As I might have mentioned a time or two, after having had gastric bypass surgery three years ago, losing about 200 lbs in eighteen months and then maintaining my weight at goal for over a year, I've put back on a few pounds in the past few months, and I'm now about 25 lbs above my drop-dead-no-way-I'm-allowed-to-go-over-that weight.

For over a year, I was doing fine following my dietitian's advice to "eat when I'm hungry, stop when I'm full, and try to make healthy choices most of the time," but I seem to be leaving off that third step quite a bit lately. And, occasionally, the first two steps, as well.

Actually, for that first year, was able to even make some not-so-healthy choices and still maintain, but I was getting a lot more exercise than I am now.

When I was working for the BlueState Democratic Party, I parked about 3/4 mile from work (in the $3/day lot, rather than the nearby $14/day lot), so I was walking 1 1/2 miles each day without even intending to exercise.

Then, while I was out of work, I walked with Shrike and the dogs nearly every day, which counter-balanced any boredom eating I was doing while sitting around the house.

Since I went back to work in late April, I've done much less walking, and then I've been taking various hormones since July and, since August, there's been pretty much unlimited chocolate candy available at work.

A very dangerous combination, evidently.

Of course, it hasn't helped that, as the scale's been inching up, I've been thinking, "Oh, I'll be pregnant in a few weeks anyway, so . . . ."

Recently, I've come to the realization that if I keep this up, by the time I actually am pregnant, I will have already put on more than I'm "allowed" to gain during pregnancy.

Of course, I knew that trying to make any changes during the holidays would be a recipe (so to speak) for failure, but I've been saying for weeks, "Come the first of the year . . . ."

So, now we're here, and it's time to get my shit together.

(Of course, today was all about the ritual food, so the shit-together-getting starts tomorrow.)

Not only to do I need to cut back on my calorie intake in general, I've also gotten very lax about making sure that I'm getting lots of protein, which is very important for those who've had gastric bypass surgery.

I've also gotten pretty lax about some of the other post-op "rules," particularly since I really have no food intolerances (not necessarily a good thing) and can eat lots of things that I really shouldn't.

I've been wracking my brain trying to remember what sorts of things I ate on a regular basis (especially what I took to work) when I was losing weight, and following the rules.

In order to get some guidance - and inspiration - I went back to a website that I found incredibly helpful when I was preparing for my surgery, and when I was in the weight loss and early maintenance phases, ObesityHelp.com.

In the "WLS (weight loss surgery) Grads" forum (for those a year or more post-op), several people were talking about something called the "5 Day Pouch Test."

(This was quite confusing for me at first, because they were abbreviating it "5dpt" which, to me, means "5 days post-(embryo)transfer. But I digress.)

I'm definitely not one for quick-fixes or fad diets or "cleansing" plans, but I'm going to give this a try.

I can't do any major nutritional damage in less than a week, and it might just be the kick in the ass that I need, so I figure it falls into the "can't hurt, might help" category.

The pouch test is a short-term (five day, would ya believe) back-to-basics refresher course, of sorts, for folks who've had weight loss surgery and now find themselves off track. Sort of a boost back up onto the wagon, so to speak.

The purpose is to "rediscover your pouch" (teeny tummy), convincing yourself that it still "works" and, they claim, tightening it back up a bit.

It's also a way to "get back to basics," break some harmful eating patterns and, although they say this isn't the goal, probably jump-start weight loss.

It's basically a speeded-up version of the original post-op diet steps that we went through over the first few months after surgery.

Here's the gist:

Days One & Two: Liquid Protein
Low-carb protein shakes, broth, clear or cream soups, sugar-free gelatin and pudding

Day 3: Soft Protein
Canned fish (tuna or salmon) eggs, fresh soft fish (tilapia, sole, orange roughy)

Day 4: Firm Protein
Ground meat (turkey, beef, chicken, lamb), shellfish, scallops, lobster, fresh salmon or halibut

Day 5: Solid Protein
White meat poultry, beef steak, pork, lamb, wild game

You can eat as much of the above menu as you want during the day to satiate hunger and prevent snacking on other foods.

Measure your portion (1 cup volume or 4-6 ounces weight) and eat only until you feel full, not overfull.

You must drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water each day. Limit each meal to 15 minutes. No drinking 30 minutes before or after meals and no drinking with your food.
Most of these rules are the basics that I should have been following all along.

We went grocery shopping on Sunday and I stocked up on liquid and soft things (had to keep reminding myself that it's just a few days!) and I plan to start on this tomorrow.

I'm a bit nervous about it but even if I'm not "perfect" with it, I think it will be a good jump-start, to remind me of what I'm supposed to be doing, to get me away from some of the bad habits that I've developed and - mostly - to make me appreciate what I can eat, come next week!

After these five days, I probably won't follow any specific "rules" or any prohibitions about specific foods (except, perhaps, the candy at work because once I start, I can't stop), but will go back to tracking everything I'm eating on FitDay.com, trying to keep my calories in the 1000 - 1250 range, and making sure that I'm getting enough protein, calcium and other things that are of particular concern to gastric bypass patients.

I'm hoping to drop a few pounds before I get pregnant (which is probably at least two months away) but, more importantly, I'll be eating more healthily, and getting all the nutrients that I'll need to build a healthy baby.

Updates to come, no doubt.


  1. Days one and two look hard to me. Bravo for trying to get back on track. The good thing is, if you are anything like me and ohchicken, you'll lose weight during your first trimester. I've lost weight because I can't seem to tolerate any processed sugar. (In my normal life I have a terrible sweet tooth.) Ohchick? Well, I think she's sick a lot. Joy! I can't wait for you to join the club.

  2. OOHM - I remember, during your very early weeks, reading about your aversion to sugar and thinking: Oh, I hope that happens to me, but that would be awful, because if I didn't want to eat sugar, I wouldn't be able to eat sugar!

    Yeah, not so much with the logic, here in my spikey little head.

  3. I lost about 20 pounds during my first trimester both times, due to being sick. I didn't really gain much during my pregnancies - that being the only time I didn't gain much...

  4. As of this morning I was 5 pounds over the upper part of the 5 pound range I usually stay in. (Yeah, yeah, I don't feel sorry for your 25 though, you still weigh half what I do.)

    I had planned on starting back on the merry-go-round on
    1-1-08, but there were still some Christmas cookies left at that point, so I made a quality decision that 1-2-08 was the get serious date. (And I took care of the cookie situation.)

    Sooo... here we go, crank up that merry-go-round, the holidays are officially over.

  5. As far as I'm concerned, New Years Day is still part of the holidays, so all post-holiday New Years resolutions start on January 2.

  6. We always make it Junuary 2 also. Works for me. No point in planned failure.

  7. I guess I got my good sense from somewhere.


What say you?