Monday, September 14, 2009

On Eating: I'm Glad I'm Me

I recently answered questions posed by friends about how I manage to live with the restrictions imposed on me by the Lap band. As I answered the questions, I realized I'm glad I'm me. If I weren't, this process could be a little more difficult.


1. I love leftovers. Seriously, I think they are the best things since sliced bread. Wait, I take that back. I actually prefer bread that doesn't come pre-sliced, but you know what I meant. To me, leftovers = wonderfulness. Ofttimes, a meal tastes better after being reheated. Most casseroles. Some pasta. Meat, if you don't overcook it the first time around.

Even before my surgery, I ate a lot of leftovers. I love to cook but find it difficult to cook for just me. So, I'd cook as if feeding a family, then eat leftovers until the food was gone, or when 7 days had passed (I won't eat something that is older than 7 days). I can easily eat the same thing for lunch and dinner several days in a row.

This really helps with my surgery. Even if I had mastered the cooking-for-one mentality, I'd still have leftovers. Lately, it takes me three meals to finish one chicken breast. Imagine how long it takes me to eat a whole meatloaf! (A week, actually, since I'll throw away whatever is left after 7 days, weren't you paying attention?) When I go out to eat, I end up eating those leftovers for a good 3 or 4 meals. It saves me a lot of money and time.

I can't imagine how hard it would be if I didn't like leftovers. Talk about wasting a lot of food!

2. I like meat. I know people from the online WLS community that are vegetarians and they do fine with the high protein aspect of the diet, but they have to get creative. I'm not creative. I like that I can eat meat to get the necessary protein.

I can really tell a difference when I'm not getting enough protein. I feel sluggish. A little dizzy. This summer was tough. I could eat more food because my band was pretty loose. So, I started eating a lot of non-protein foods again. However, since I was able to eat fairly big (for me) portions, I felt okay. Now my band is tighter, maybe even a tad too tight, and I can't eat very large portions of anything. If I don't stick to meat or other protein-rich foods, I can tell that I don't get enough calories and nutrients. I think it even started to affect my period; I was two weeks late this month. If I were sexually active, I would've been freaking out. As it was, I was just kind of freaking out because I'm usually really regular. My mom was the one who suggested it could be because of my diet. I know I've been quite lax on the protein lately, so now I'm committed to getting in the recommended amounts.

Like I said earlier, it would be a lot harder if I couldn't just cook up a chicken breast, fish, or a nice juicy steak in order to get my protein fix.

3. I don't like soda. A lot of WLS patients struggle with the no soda rule. The carbonation causes the stomach to expand, allowing for more food to be eaten, and can eventually negate the surgery. Plus, soda is just a bunch of empty calories. Now, I'm not trying to convince all you soda drinkers to stop drinking it...I know a hopeless cause when I see it (teehee). I'm just grateful that soda was never something I really got into.

I thank my high school volleyball coach for that. He made us give it up if we wanted to be on the team. So I did. Over the years, I'll have the occasional soda. I especially enjoy a ginger ale every now and then. However, the times I drank soda were few and far between. I didn't have to give it up when I had my surgery. Woohoo!


Not that everything is totally easy-cheesy about the band. I started "practicing" not drinking water with my meals a good two months before my surgery and still find it difficult. Yep, almost one year of not doing it and I could take up that habit again as easily as blinking. If I have something to distract me, it isn't too terrible, but if I don't, I count down the minutes before I can drink water again. And then, because my band is a smidgen too tight, I can't gulp it down like I'd like or I'll end up regretting it (regretting = throwing up).

Restaurants are especially difficult because they place the water right in front of me. With ice. And a straw. Sadists! Just after my surgery, when asked what I'd like to drink, I'd tell the waiter/waitress that I didn't want anything to drink. Not even water, they'd query. I'd say no, they'd look at me funny, ask me if I was sure, then walk away like I was some sort of weirdo. It wasn't worth it. So, now I practice uncharacteristic self-restraint by ordering the one beverage I love more than any other, the beverage that is totally off-limits while eating, and allow it to rest provocatively near my hand while I wait for my food to be delivered. (You see, I can't drink for 30 minutes before or after eating either.)


When all is said and done, though, getting used to my new eating lifestyle hasn't been as difficult as I thought it would be. Mostly, this is due to how I lived and ate before the surgery. I'm so glad I'm me. *smile*


Framed said...

I like leftoevers also. I just can't eating so that I have any. It would be so hard to not be able to drink with your meal. When do you drink your water?

Mellissa said...

Almost nothing beats leftover spaghetti! The only way I would ever become a vegetarian if it was a life or death decision between giving up meat and giving up chocolate. I'd have to give up the meat.

Cardine said...

I'm with you on the soda thing. I don't generally drink it. I only drink it on occaision, and only if I really feel like it.

Also, one good thing about you not drinking water is if you go out to eat with someone who drinks a lot of it and the server is slacking on the drinks, you have an extra glass to share! It's a positive!

I think that you have shown amazing self-restraint during this process. And that is so cool.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're you, too. :D

julie said...

Framed, I drink water whenever I'm not eating, preparing to eat, or have just ate. I definitely have to make a concerted effort to drink enough.

Missy, I love leftover spaghetti, too! Especially if there happens to be leftover garlic bread to go with it. Mmmmm. Have you ever tried spaghetti with a little ranch dressing mixed in? I know it sounds gross, but I love it!

Cardine, it has certainly helped my fellow restaurant goers at times to have my full to the brim water glass handy. I can't help but be a little jealous that they get to partake of my water as I'm parched to the core. *smile* Thanks for your support, Cardine; it has helped me immensely!

Sarah, thanks! I'm glad you approve.

tearese said...

wow that water thing would be the hardest for me I think. I forget to drink water throughout the day unless I'm hot, so I chug several gasses full at meals. And the protein thing- hmm, maybe thats why I was so irregular when I was younger? I wasn't regular till after Joshua was born (well, 11 months after, because it takes a while before ovulation you know.I could care less if I eat meat, its just Joseph likes it so much...

Booklogged said...

Candleman seldom drinks with his meals, but I always have. That would be hard to change.

Sounds like you are learning to work with your limits and leaning on your strengths to help you out. Good lesson for all of us.