Is it working?

I continue to be really worried about this surgery not working. By “not working” I mean that the restriction from my smaller stomach won’t be present enough to keep me from eating more, which will keep me from losing weight. Additionally, I know I won’t be successful at eating less if I am hungry all the time.

I guess at this point I’m having mixed results:

Hunger: Almost from the beginning I’ve had hunger. At first I had the sensation of heartburn, which read a little bit like hunger. I think that was from healing because that has subsided, but the hunger is still present. Then I thought my hunger might be “head hunger” or thirst, but these days I’m doing better telling the difference, and I’m clear when I am hungry. Some people don’t experience hunger much, if at all, after this surgery, but unfortunately I appear to be an outlier, and I am getting hungry every few hours. I’m trying to a) keep my protein input high enough, as that can stave off hunger longer; b) eat only a small amount between meals; and c) try flavorful but lower calorie foods, such as broth or sugar free jello.

Restriction: Most people at this point can eat about 1/2 cup of food at a meal. I have days where that is true. However at other times, like yesterday, I can eat up to a cup of food. I know it doesn’t sound like a like, but if I can eat that much, I will have a harder time losing weight.

As expected, my moods around success are all over the map. Two days ago I was feeling good about my prospects for success, but yesterday I was hungry almost constantly and ate a lot more than I had been eating, so I got very worried.

As some of my friends have told me many times in many situations: One Day At A Time.

About my weight… scary to talk about numbers

So far I haven’t posted anything about my actual weight. I’m going to start being more open about that. Here are my stats:

  • Highest: 315
  • Knee surgery (12/7/21): 298
  • Before starting the pre-op diet (5/24/21): 287
  • Surgery (6/7/21): 281
  • Now (15 days post-op, 6/22/21): 265

Check out the whole timeline, which includes these numbers and other interesting data.

What am I eating now?

I’m continuing with broths and LOTS of water, between 64 and 80 ounces a day. (That will continue forever.) I’m also continuing with plain yogurt (with flavorings), ricotta cheese (often with marinara sauce), and blended up beans.

I’ve graduated to some meats. Specifically I’ve ground up canned salmon, and Rio made a chicken stew (just chicken and vegetables) that I put in the Cuisinart and have been eating. Yum! There are actually pieces I can chew, which is something I’ve missed a bit. The big difference I’m noticing is how much I can eat before I feel full. For example, this is the food I had yesterday morning:

That’s a small plastic container with some flavored yogurt, and a small bowl with the chicken stew. The stew was my breakfast, about 1/2 cup of food. The yogurt was my snack, probably 1/3 of a cup.

The hardest part with the small portions is that when I really like a food, I want to keep eating it, but I get full so quickly! So I try to take really small bites and savor, and pause between bites, to stretch it out. Better for my stomach to process that way too.

I was also really adventurous yesterday: there was some cooked ground beef in the refrigerator, so I blended it with some refried beans and a little beef bone broth. Yum!! Many people can’t tolerate beef for a while, but this worked out OK. A very small amount, and I definitely felt my stomach gurgling to process it, but it went down fine. So glad, because I really love beef. I also tried a few of our tiny plums (just the flesh – no skin) and that seemed to work well.

I hope to graduate soon to cottage cheese, and perhaps some other soft cheeses. And slowly increase to bigger bites, less grinding up. The eventual goal is to eat regular food, just small quantities of it. And to pretty much avoid bread, pasta, and rice because they take up a lot of space and don’t contribute enough nutrients, especially protein. Because I can’t eat much at a time, I eat protein first (need 25-30gm of protein at each meal), then vegetables (for fiber and nutrients), and by then I don’t really have room for anything else. That’s kind of the point of the surgery: restrict intake to eat less, but be able to feel full. And change eating habits enough to maintain good nutrition.

Note that I can’t eat raw veggies yet; can’t digest well enough. Hopefully within a month or so. Some people can tolerate them well, others not so much. Hoping I’ll be one of the lucky ones; so far I’ve been very luck!

Oh, and I started taking vitamins. One chewable bariatric vitamin, and 2 500-mg calcium chews every day. The calcium is like my candy!

Weight Update: 13 days after Surgery

I started putting together a timeline of this whole journey. In doing so, I looked at my weight. I was at my highest weight ever last year. I started eating differently in about October, knowing I had to lose about 20 pounds before my doctor would do my knee replacement surgery. I did that in December, and continued to lose a bit more. Then I stalled for many months until I did the pre-op diet, when I lose a little more. I’ve now lost about 12 pounds since surgery. I wasn’t thinking any of this was remarkable until I thought about the whole journey so far. As of yesterday, I’ve lost almost 50 pounds from my highest weight.

Achy and Tired

I know when we lose weight it releases estrogen which can cause mood swings. I’m wondering about other toxins: I’m having a day when I feel really achy, and wondering if it could be something weird in my system.

Skinny Feet

My feet are thinner. Ankles too. Yesterday I wore a pair of sandals I haven’t worn since COVID. After dusting them off (!) I had to tighten all of the straps.


New Foods

I made a mash of salmon, ricotta, and marinara sauce. I had a bit last night and a few bites at lunch today, along with refried beans. So far so good.

I’ve been doing so well tolerating foods that I’m trying to be patient, not move too fast. So far the only thing I haven’t tolerated well was some pureed salsa: it was just spicier than I’m used to. The mild stuff was OK.

9-day Update: Food, Pain Meds, Diabetes Meds

I’m continuing pureed foods, what Dani calls my “goop”. I’ve added small amounts of cottage cheese (pureeing that too), and I seem to be tolerating that well. Will slowly add in some other foods over the next few days.

The best news is that I’m off pretty much all pain meds. Even those I was taking before surgery! I still have back pain, but the pain level is about what it was before the surgery, but without meds! I’ve lost about 10 lbs since surgery, but I’m having a hard time believing that just that amount of weight loss can make so much of a difference. So I’m not sure what’s going on, but I’m not complaining.

No major changes in terms of diabetes meds. I’m having to take 500 mg of Metformin just about every day, and still take Lantus some days.

I have my post-op appointment with Dr. Foster on Tuesday; will let you know how that goes.

How is my diabetes being affected

I’ve gotten a number of questions about how this journey has affected/will affect my diabetes. In the long run, the best case scenario is that it will put be completely in remission. But this will take time.

Before embarking on this journey, I was taking 2500 mg of metformin and 180 units of Lantus (a long-acting insulin, in a single shot once a day) and my A1C measure was around 6.3. (For comparison, normal is below 5.9, diabetic is over 7.0, and 6.3 is a good number for a well-controlled diabetic.) When I started changing my eating in preparation, in October, I substantially reduced my carb intake. By November my A1C was down to 5.7, my metformin had been reduced to 1000mg, and my Lantus was down to 120 units. By March by A1C was 5.6, metformin was at 500mg, and Lantus was 60 units.

Since surgery I am monitoring my blood sugar and only taking medication based on my numbers. I have taken 500mg of metformin 3 times in the last week, and have had to take Lantus only twice, both times under 30 units. So the good news is that so far my blood sugar is responding well. More news as time progresses.

What am I eating: 6 days post-op

Water, water, water. Gets a bit boring, so i’m using a lot of sugar free water flavorings. Currently powdered Sunkist and liquid Jelly Belly flavorings are my favorites. Getting about 80 oz in a day.

I’m still eating out of ramekins, which are 2-4 oz each, and I’m filling about 3/4 full. Same as a few days ago, but have added heavily pureed cooked beans. I tried a puree of avocado and salsa, but it didn’t sit well so will put that off a few days.