My bariatric journey: The scale becomes my friend

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FORT WORTH, Texas November 15, 2014 — The first two weeks after surgery sped by. My focus on eating the correct amounts and taking care to heal properly filled my time. The two week post-op visit with Dr. Carter was here before I knew it.

I was down twenty pounds! Dr. Carter had me drink the barium fluid under x-ray once more to get a look at my stomach. He said my insides looked perfect and were healing nicely. It was time to start eating soft food. The doctor stressed to me to quit eating as soon as started to feel full. There was still the possibility of tearing open the incision from taking in too much food at once. After two weeks of getting the hang of that I could begin eating regular foods once more.

It was hard for me to believe I had made it this far, but I did. My self-perception began to change. Society says that fat people are lazy and weak willed. As much as one makes the effort to ignore that, it still affects you. I began to realize we are all weak and lazy sometimes, but that doesn’t accurately describe my character. People have been telling me how strong I am for years and I am finally starting to see what they see. I’ve began to realize my determination and tenacity like never before. With the right tools I can achieve anything.

Exercise was the next thing I asked him about but Dr. Carter said to let my body heal for another two weeks. Wow! A doctor told me to NOT exercise! I know the circumstances warrant it but who would have guessed I would experience it?

The great visit was a boon to my confidence and self-esteem. The sky was the limit! The following weekend my church hosted its annual Fall Festival. I felt so good I took extra care with my hair and actually felt like applying make-up. People had already started noticing my weight loss and giving me compliments. This day, however, a dear friend told me that her husband mentioned that he had never seen me wear make-up before and that I looked hot. Hot? Me?? Obviously the man wasn’t being a scumbag since he shared with his wife, who agreed. They just wanted to encourage me. It did. I don’t remember the last time a man sincerely told me I was beautiful or attractive.

I don’t know about men but even the most confident women need to hear they are beautiful every so often. It’s just how we are. Everyone can use a positive boost once in a while.

The first soft food I ate was scrambled egg. It is singular because that’s all that would fit in my stomach. What a new experience! Dr. Carter also recommends My Fitness Pal for his patients. It’s an app for smart phones that keeps track of daily exercise, food and water intake. There is also community support, recipes, a meal planner and you can team up with a friend so you can support one another too.

With all the positive results my weight loss began to slow down once I started eating whole food again. It included all the right foods and I exercised for an hour a day four to five days a week. It makes sense that since my caloric intake has increased weight loss would slow but there was still a small fear in the back of my mind that this weight loss attempt was not going to work after all.

It was about this time that I measured my waist; it was down three and a half inches! My clothes felt looser but this amazed me. I guess I never really believed this would happen. Again, past experience proven wrong!

To be on the safe side, however, I contacted my Bariatric Coordinator, Debra Rundles, RN, BSN, CBN to hear her thoughts. She confirmed my suspicions and suggested tricking my metabolism by changing what I eat while still eating healthy options. Debra also reminded me that my protein intake should be between 20-40 grams a day. With my protein shakes that was easy. She also said I was doing well. That alone wiped away any doubts in the back of my mind.

Eating foods packed with nutrition hasn’t been hard for me. It takes more thought and effort than before but thankfully I already like what I need to eat. Now that my stomach only holds a certain amount of food I have to make every calorie count. That means when it’s time to eat protein comes first, then veggies and/or fruit and if there’s any room, some kind of complex carbohydrate. I’m to keep fats to a minimum. By that time there’s no room for dessert or junk!

Seriously, it would be just as easy to eat simple carbohydrates and processed food. But that will lead to malnutrition very fast and I’ll stop losing or even gain weight. Yes, people that eat all the time can have malnutrition. The word “malnutrition” brings to mind a skeleton-like person with skin or waif-like children with distended abdomens. That’s not the entire truth. If all you eat has little to no nutritional value your body will become malnourished. You can actually be fat and malnourished at the same time. And when that happens you get to deal with a host of maladies caused by the lack of nutrient rich foods.

Join me next week as I blossom further while my new life unfolds.



Read more of Claire’s work at Feed the Mind, Nourish the Soul in the Communities Digital News and Greater Fort Worth Writers.

Join her on Twitter; Facebook; Feed the Mind, Nourish the Soul FB Page; Greater Fort Worth Writers Group FB Page


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