Mixed news as I head into week 8, but most of it remains very positive.
On the “down” side, my weight loss has settled down. For the last two weeks I’ve lost 7 pounds. But this was to be expected. Every WLS (Weight Loss Surgery) patient eventually settles down into a sustainable loss pattern. It varies by person and metabolism. The national average weight loss for people having an RNY is 13 pounds per month, so actually I’m just becoming more normal. Still, it would have been nice to have a couple more 20+ pound loss months!
On the up side, and probably related, my ability to exercise has gone through the roof. I have a sneaking suspicion that increased muscle mass is cutting into my weight loss, but again, this was expected. I may even slow down to a pound or two a week if I get into heavy weight-lifting. But the difference is energy is incredible. While only a couple of months ago I would soldier on through 35-45 minutes of cardio on the elliptical, this past week I’m easily putting in an hour. I could probably go longer, but I want to ramp up slowly. I’m also looking to add something else into the mix. The elliptical has taken the place of my walks, and I know that’s going to get boring after a while.
It’s great getting my energy levels up past where they were before the surgery. Aside from the weight loss, it’s something else tangible. I can feel the difference all day long.
The biggest drama over the past couple of weeks has been my CPAP, the machine I wear at night to make sure I keep breathing. As I lost weight in my face, I found that my CPAP mask was not working well. My mouth would fall open. This causes all sorts of problems, including waking up a lot during the night and not having mental energy during the day. I found a new mask that works, but it’s going to take another few days for the vendor to get the right size in. Meanwhile? I’m tying my head shut with a scarf. Yeah, I know. It looks quite funny, like I’m living in the 1800s or something. But it works, mostly. So who cares how it looks?
My biggest problem remains with portion sizes. Although hunger doesn’t affect me like it used to, when I’m feeling like I should eat, and I’m measuring out food for a meal, I can’t help but think “Gee! I should be eating a lot more than that!” and it causes me to measure out too much food. I’ve been battling this for a couple of weeks now, and the only solution I can find is to buy a bunch of little containers and measure all of my food out for the week at one time. The weird thing is that it’s not like the amounts matter — at the end of the meal I’m just as full one way or the other. It’s the measuring that seems to be my problem. So, we find a way around it.
I think overall one of the main benefits of the surgery is that it gives you “breathing room” to work through problems like this. In the past, each week could become almost like a battle. My “old” way of eating was wolfing down whatever I felt like. Many times this would be something like a double Whopper with cheese and a couple of large fries. No matter what I was doing, there was always a tension between my diet and my old way of eating.
Here, that isn’t an issue any more. Yes, I can screw around with my portion sizes — up to an extent. But I can’t run off to the local drive-through. That’s not happening. My stomach size and new aversion to sugars is like a safety net. There’s no completely falling off the wagon in a bad day. Sure, I imagine over time I could train my body to go back to those old ways of eating, but it would take some time. The surgery gives me extra time to fix problems as they occur without making things all or nothing.
So I just ordered the containers, and next week will put them to work.
I was interested in why I could actually eat more, so I emailed my dietitian. She said some foods, like yogurt, chili, or soup, were called “sliders”. They were moist enough that they could slide right through my pouch, giving the illusion of my having a bigger stomach than I actually do. Some other foods, like tilapia, turkey, eggs, or chicken, is dry enough that once I eat my pouch size, I’m done.
So for these slider foods, and probably for the rest of them, I’m switching to a measure-ahead-of-time system. It’s really weird re-learning to eat. Sitting at the table, not being able to read, chewing my food thoroughly? My impatience is killing me. I feel like I’ve been bad in school and have been stuck in after-school detention! Maybe I should work on my patience a bit, huh?
It’s all good, though. At the end of next week, I go back to the doc and nutritionist. I should transition to solid foods and be released for air travel and whatever normal things I want to do. Within 3 weeks, I should be at my half-way weight-loss point. And in a couple of months? Can’t wait to start back running again! Lots of things to look forward to.If you've read this far and you're interested in Agile, you should take my No-frills Agile Tune-up Email Course, and follow me on Twitter.