Friday, May 11, 2012

Positive Change is a Good Thing All Around

This is the first in a series of blogposts about my weight loss surgery. You can see the second post here

I’ve lost ten pounds in the last month incorporating the advice from my bariatric surgeon and the nutritionist I’m seeing.  The entire process is moving very quickly!  It took me longer to decide to have the surgery than it’s taken to get everything lined up. Now, I’m just waiting for the insurance approval before getting scheduled.  That seems ironic.

My first appointment with the bariatric surgeon was on March 30.  I was very nervous and experienced a week’s worth of drama and “deep thought” prior to going.  The doctor has a good bedside manner, however, and in spite of having to wait an extra hour for him to finish his rounds, the appointment was a good one. I felt better.  The real action started after I saw the nutritionist. She helped me understand some of the changes I had to make to get my metabolism working in the right direction and to get used to new eating habits. 

You see, this surgery isn’t a cure for morbid obesity.  It’s a tool.  Without the institution of new habits, better habits, the surgery itself will eventually be useless. 

I’ve elected to have “the gastric sleeve”, which is one of three recommended surgeries for obesity.  First, there is the usual gastric bypass, wherein the stomach is made smaller, and a portion of the small intestines are bypassed. So, you get less food in your stomach, and your body, particularly after surgery, doesn’t absorb all of what you’re eating.  The nutritionist today told me that eventually the body adjusts to this, so what you eat really does matter, particularly in the long run.  Second, there is the lap-band. You’ve probably seen this one on television. The doctor puts a band around the top part of your stomach, limiting how much your stomach can take.  Weight loss is very gradual because first you have to heel before the band can be tightened. That is done by slowly injecting silicone or something that makes the opening to the stomach smaller.  There’s actually a port right under the skin on your belly for that purpose (which kind of creeps me out).  The last one, “the sleeve”, is when the doctor actually removes the largest part of your stomach leaving a small “sleeve” or sort of thumb size pouch.  You can’t eat as much, not near as much before you are full, so what you eat REALLY matters if you’re going to get the right amount of nutrients.  The surgeon considers each of these a permanent procedure.  He’s going to do the procedure laparoscopically.  He’s an expert.  And he’s going to do it through my belly button (which also kinds of creeps me out).

I was able to make positive changes to my diet and consequently how I felt right away.  About two weeks before seeing the surgeon I did a food diary that blew my mind. I was eating whatever I wanted which amounted to lots and lots of carbs, and I felt like crap. But I was trapped by the carb loop, eating and being hungry shortly thereafter … eat and repeat.  Awareness of that helped me make change. I had to see it for myself.  So, after visiting the surgeon, I eliminated processed/refined carbs and sugar from my diet completely.  I lost four pounds.

When I visited the nutritionist next, I learned more good things.  I learned how important it is to eat at the table, that the body loves habits, and putting a placemat around meal time helps.  I also learned that eating in front of the television or computer is a very bad habit because it interferes with your brain’s ability to put food in the right place.  It also keeps you numb to your body’s signals.  I’m chewing my food to liquid and putting my fork down in between bites.  I learned about “trigger foods” or the foods to stay away from because habitually you go back again and again for more.  It is very important to eliminate snacks between meals, as well, because of the insulin and hormonal cycles around digestion.  When you eat, your body creates a surge of insulin.  Then during the next few hours, hormones kick in to properly digest.  When you eat all day or graze, you never give yourself a chance to properly digest!  Too much insulin!  And then you’re not supposed to eat right before bed because it messes up the sleep hormones.  I never knew any of this, not in a way that became personal, but boy it sure rang true to me.  Today, I weighed in at the nutritionist and have lost a total of 10 pounds creating new habits around food.

Leslie is totally on board with this, and in fact, she’s lost 16 pounds in a month and a half doing the same thing I’m doing. She won’t have the bariatric surgery, but she’s on the right track, and is in full support of us all making positive change to our eating habits.  Elizabeth is completely on board, as well, and has waited for us to make this change for a long time.  She’s very proud, and that feels great.

I think one of the biggest miracles in all of this is how eating around the table positively affects our family.  Elizabeth has been super busy with the drama club at school. She’s working the spot light for their musical, is in rehearsals most of the week, had Star testing, and is still jugging the homework and usual end of the year pressure.  But when we all sit around the table, she talks, we talk, and it’s like we all get grounded somehow. Then the rest of the evening is harmonious and pleasant. 

I can’t get over it.

This positive change is a good thing all around!

1 comment:

V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios said...

Time around the table with my family is my favorite part of the day.

I've become undisciplined in my eating habits the last few years and it's really showing. I need to break the cycle too.

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