Weighty Matters

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Balancing Act

Introducing foods again isn’t all that easy.  Right now, my stomach and I are on a meet and greet with pureed and soft foods.   Even though I didn’t overeat last weekend, I might have reintroduced too many different foods in a couple of days and my system is rebelling by making me queasy in the morning.  It could also be that I’m dehydrating in the sleep hours when I’m not constantly sip sip sipping water.

It is also difficult for me to judge the line between consuming just enough food and taking that one extra bite that overfills my stomach.

Good things do not happen if you overfill the sleeved stomach.  The stomach then wants to send the food right back up again.  I’m not a fan of that action and am determined to avoid it as much as possible.  I don’t want to overeat but overeat has a new measuring stick in this life.   I’ve learned that I can tolerate about three spoonfuls of soup and then I have to put down the spoon.  A couple of half-forkfuls of that baked cheesy-tofu dish is my limit.  One half-forkful too many and I will have to struggle to keep them down.   Since such small quantities can be taken in at once, it’s necessary to space out our “meals” about three hours apart.

Liquids — like protein drinks, milk and water — slide down a little easier.  The good news is that I can start my day off with a protein dense drink for breakfast and it doesn’t take me an hour to consume.  The bad news, as I’ve discovered, is that it is more difficult for me to assess my own fullness after liquid.

The information and guidelines I’ve received suggest that we stop drinking about 30 minutes before any meal.  So there’s another aspect to the balancing act.  It’s important to stay hydrated with 64 to 100 oz of fluids a day.  To do that, we are told to sip sip sip sip regularly throughout the day.  However, we need to remember about halting all the sip sip sipping in time for our stomachs to empty enough to take in the small meal.

It’s a difficult thought process.  I mean, really, for over 50 years I’ve combined eating and drinking at the same time.  Now to have to totally adjust that thinking and experience takes some doing.

This morning I had an early dental appointment.  I got up, had my protein shake, and then filled up my 24 oz water glass so that I could commence the day’s sipping on my way to the dentist’s office (about 25 minutes from home) and continue when I went from there to work.  (About 45 minutes.)  I felt rather proud of my dedication to the hydration guidelines.

When I arrived at work, about three hours had passed since my morning protein drink.  I felt a little hungry and unwrapped a cheese stick.  I broke it into pieces and slowly chewed each piece, taking my time.

Unfortunately, I soon realized that I  hadn’t actually taken enough time between my last sips of water on the ride from the dentist and my snack.  Within a minute of finishing the cheese, my body telegraphed distress signals.  Without going into graphic detail, I’m sure you can imagine the symptoms that indicate your body’s about to revolt.   A friend was sitting talking with me in my office at the time.  I gracefully excused myself and got to the restroom in time.  Easy come easy go on that cheese stick.

Another lesson learned.  Drinking lots of water in a stream of sips does not mean that I will register that I’m full, so I really need to successfully balance the time between drinking and eating.   I need to learn my sleeve’s boundaries so that I find the balance between eating enough for good nutrition and eating too much in a way that makes me sick.

As I work on learning the physical parts of the balancing act, I also need to deal with the frustration of not always getting things right from the get-go.  It’s a process, and one that requires me retraining myself.  I’m leaving behind the habits of a lifetime and embracing a whole new way to do things.   I can do it, but I need to accept that it might take me a while to find my balance.

 

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New Vision

My friends and co-workers have started to see the weight loss in my face and body.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since, even though I started out super obese, losing over 45 pounds is a big chunk of weight.  I can feel the loss in some clothes that used to be tight and now fit nicely and others that fit well and are now on the edge of too big.

The biggest difference that I feel is in simple movement — doing my Tai Chi, walking without my heart pounding and my lungs striving to suck in air.  Wlthough I was still a little achy after being on my feet for three hours the other day, my ankles and knees didn’t throb with pain for the rest of the night.  These are all very positive improvements that make me happy.

I just can’t wait until I see the weight loss in myself.  Even if I stare in the mirror it’s like I have some sort of internal vision filter that still shows me at my highest weight. When it comes to my own body, my perception does not run true.   I call this syndrome “fat eyes”.

Oddly enough, I see the reduction in my hands.  The backs of my hands aren’t as puffy.  My fingers look long and lovely and my rings are loose.  This, too, is positive progress!

I wish I knew how to change the way that I see myself.  Sure, this will eventually happen.  At some point, my collar bones will be revealed, my face will thin, the huge rolls around my abdomen and stomach will grow smaller.  My ass will no longer be gargantuan with a shelf you could set china on.  I’ll be thinner all over and then, finally, I will see my progress from forehead to feet and all parts in between.

But I’m impatient.  When I look at myself in the mirror, I’d like the real reflection to look back — not the still inflated Mary.  I guess my vision’s just broken and I’m not sure how to fix it.  Maybe I just need to journey on until I’ve lost twice the weight that I have already.  Part of the problem is that I carry images of myself at different weights so what’s been revealed so far is a slightly less fat version of myself that I remember.  So it isn’t new to me.  I’m not sure.

I’ve decided to take new photos of myself with every 50 pound drop in weight. I’m almost positive that, when studying side by side evidence of my progress even my fat eyes won’t obscure the view. In the meantime, while I work toward this new vision and changing my fat eyes syndrome, what I really need to cultivate is patience.

Are you objective about your bodies?  Do you see yourself truly?

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The First Not So Great Day

I’ll try not to whine too much, but since this blog is about the journey and I pledged to be honest, I need to share the bad stuff along with the good.

Not that there’s a lot of bad stuff, it’s just that I feel like I’ve been on a roll, accumulating positive change after positive change.  Then this morning hit and I’ve felt like crap since waking up.  One of the side effects of the transitional diets is that, internally, things don’t move along smoothly.  (How’s that for a polite allusion?)  All systems are not go and it’s bothersome.  Then, my stomach’s felt queasy all morning.  About half an hour ago I decided I’d probably feel better if I just threw up, so instead of fighting it, I did just that.

Oddly enough, I do feel marginally better than before, so I guess that’s a plus.

For my final complaint of the day, I’m tired of getting tired.  I worked an event yesterday at my day job, standing around talking to people should not wipe one out, but after only three hours I was exhausted.  When I got home I ate a little something and then flopped in the recliner with my ever-present large glass of fluids beside me.  I was so tired I couldn’t even nap, which is weird because I can normally catch shut-eye anywhere.  However, I soon wasn’t sleepy and stayed up through the entire, fairly boring, Oscar Awards presentation.  (How bored was I?  I flipped to Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America show at 9 p.m. and only returned to the Oscars during commercial breaks.  Don’t think I missed any major awards.)

So, this morning I woke up queasy, phlumphy (made up word for how I feel intestinely) and tired.  No energy to speak of on a day when I really wanted to recommit to daily exercise.

Whine whine whine, complain complain, bitch, moan, kvetch.

I need to break this down.  Logically, I believe the transition to pureed and soft foods is creating the issues.  After six weeks of liquids, my body needs to readjust to different food items and I might have pushed it a little.  I didn’t overeat — who can overeat when a couple of tablespoons at a time fills you up? — but I might have tried to introduce a greater variety of pureed and soft foods in too short a time period.  So, I’m scaling back.  I started the day with a good old reliable protein shake and packed a food I know my stomach can handle for snack/lunch at work.  On the way home, I’ll pick up an over the counter aid to help get things moving inside.

I will diligently sip sip sip sip sip water and not force the issue with my queasy stomach.  I already know that taking in too much at one time makes me want to hurl so why push it?  Small sips only but on a consistent basis will keep me hydrated without the nasty reaction.

As for the tiredness, I need to remember that I’m not completely healed and recovered from the surgery.  The guy that called me yesterday told me that his surgery wiped him out for a couple of months.  I need to remind myself that I am not a wimp if I feel tired after several hours of working.  I also need to remember that when I’m full of energy and feel like I can take on the world, I have a tendency to overdue and my body will make me pay for that the next day.  So, everything in moderation.   Plus, I need to not beat myself up over the tiredness.  It’s to be expected, not to be resented or battled.

This too shall pass.  I know this logically and emotionally.  As time goes on I’ll feel better and better.  I’m confident that there will bemany  greater days than today.

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Sunday Round-Up

It’s a sleepy Sunday morning and I don’t have a lot of deep thoughts and realizations running through my head.  Even so, writing something helps me maintain my focus so I figured I’d recap a few things.

This is my second full day on pureed and soft foods.   I’m really amazed at the shift in how I look at food and eating.  I used to wonder if the portion before me would ever be enough.   This morning I scrambled an egg with some mozarella in it for added protein and hoped that I’d be able to eat the whole thing.  Whole thing — like a single scrambled egg is a lot of food.  It isn’t.  I managed but it took me almost 30 minutes.  All my life I’ve heard the advice that eating slowly is a good practice.  Now it’s the only way I can consume food.

Last night I met friends for dinner.  It’s the first time that I’ve been out for a meal in almost two months.  I wanted very badly to see these friends who were in from out of town for a few days so we picked a local restaurant that I’ve been to before.  I was confident that I could find something on the menu to meet my needs.   I almost opted for the hummus platter when I spotted a newer item — chicken or tuna salad with fruit.  Not very glamorous, but chicken salad is something I can tolerate while in this stage.  When my plate arrived, it held a generous scoop of chicken salad on a bed of greens surrounded by grapes, pineapple and mandarin oranges with three slices of baguette.  I can’t eat bread yet, so I put the slices on another plate.  I can eat fruit if it’s cooked, so I decided right then that I’d take it home and stew it or something later.

My friends and I had a lovely time chatting while we ate.  I took a quarter of a forkful of chicken at a time, put down the fork, and thoroughly chewed before swallowing.  I probably didn’t eat more than two – two and a half ounces all told but it took me as long as it did my friends to eat their entrees and I enjoyed every morsel.  I brought the rest home to eat for lunch today.  Given the amount that remains, it might be lunch and part of dinner.

The experience taught me a lot.  I can eat the way that I need to even in public without a problem.  My friends get it and don’t feel weird eating bigger meals in front of me.  They’re genuinely thrilled for me.  To Go boxes are always available.  My new way of eating in no way diminishes the social benefit of dining out with friends.

Win-win all around!

A lot of people who have had this surgery have shared that they hit a stall or plateau in their weight loss around the third week post-op.  That didn’t happen to me, but I full expect it will at some point.   Even though logically my head will remember that stalls happen and the weight will eventually come off, I anticipate that I will have some negative feelings.  I’m determined to take my measurements once a month and, to measure again if I hit a plateau because I know that even if the scale number doesn’t move, the inches probably still reduce.    It’s important to shore up my defenses so that my attitude remains positive.

Finally today, I am overwhelmed at the everyone’s support for me.  I’ve never met some of you who comment here and know you only from the blogosphere and Bettyverse.  Your input and positive energy means a lot.  I hope you’re getting something in return from your visits, but please know how much I appreciate you — along with the friends I’ve known all or most of my life.    People, both here and in my everyday life have been terrific.  Yesterday I got a call from a man whom I know socially, mostly through his wife who is friends with other friends.  Turns out that he had weight loss surgery over four years ago.  He heard that I’d just gone through it and called to offer support, encouragement and helpful tips.  “You’re in the club now,” he told me.  “If you have any questions or there’s anything you need, keep my number.”  He offered some great advice and, above all, the generous spirit that moved him to call touched me deeply.

Thank you, everyone.  I’m very grateful!

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Miniscule Meals

Today’s my first full day of pureed and soft foods after six weeks of liquids.  I woke up excited to taste things other than broths, protein shakes, plain Greek yogurt and juice.  I will admit that I was also apprehensive.  I have a history of binge eating and compulsive overeating.  What if I was so over-the-moon at the idea of cottage cheese that I shoveled it down into my small stomach pouch, only to have my body rebel and bring it right back up again?

Fresh in my mind was the dietitian’s reminder the other night that we really should eat a small amount of something – beginning with protein – every three hours.  At the time, I thought, “Every three hours?  Geezus, I’ll be eating all freaking day.  How’s that going to help me lose weight?”

I needn’t have worried.  I started the day with a single scoop protein shake because it was easy and I don’t mind the taste for breakfast.  (No time to scramble an egg this morning before Tai Chi.)  When I got home from Tai Chi class I knew I needed some protein and I gleefully opened a four ounce container of cottage cheese, ready to luxuriate in the tangy creaminess.

Four half-forkfuls later, I was done.  Seriously done.  I couldn’t stomach one more curd.  I felt full enough that if I’d tried another tiny forkful, I know I would have heaved.

The container wasn’t even half empty.  I now completely get the “eat a little something every three hours”.  The key is that bit about “little something” and the reminder that at every meal or snack, we need to get in the protein first.   Sure, if every three hours a person consumed the equivalent of a McD’s value meal, they’d gain weight at an alarming rate.  Two ounces of food every three hours — not so much.  In fact, now having taken my stomach sleeve on a soft food test run, I see that spacing out the food is the only way that I’m going to be able to consume enough food to satisfy my nutritional needs and remain healthy.

I put down the fork and drove off to pick up my dogs from doggy camp where they’d stayed while I was out of town overnight.  When we returned home I ate another small forkfuls of the cottage cheese and then took in some more fluids.  (Everything in balance.)  I did some chores, cleaned the pool and did some water exercises and just now finally finished the rest of the cottage cheese.  One four-ounce container eaten over three “meals”.

Wow.  I’m pleasantly satisfied, but don’t feel stuffed.  This is a totally opposite way of eating for me and radically different feeling.  In the worst days of my eating disorder when I was completely out of control, I felt like there was never enough food to fill me up.  Of course, I was trying to satiate more than physical hunger, but in the meantime I packed in huge quantities in relatively short periods of time.

This is so different and so incredibly pleasant.  Miniscule meals — yet another new tool for success!

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Dear Diary

One of the keys to success is that I willingly make changes in my lifestyle and, particularly, my approach to healthy eating and weight loss.

Repeat after me:  The sleeve surgery is only a tool.  The sleeve surgery is only a tool.  The sleeve surgery is only a tool.

That’s so important for me to remember.   The sleeve limits the amount I can consume, but fixing my head is even more important.

I had my one-month-post-op appointment with my surgeon today.  He and I are both happy with my progress.  Food-wise, I’m now officially “advanced” from a full liquid diet to pureed and soft foods for the next two weeks.  At first I thought I’d have to do pureed foods for two weeks, then soft foods, so finding out I can combine the two stages has me psyched!

The information was also a wake up call.  My nutrition goals are to consume 60-80 grams of protein a day and drink 64 to 100 oz of water, plus stay in the 600-800 calorie range.    This is fairly easy to figure out when on a full liquid diet.  Every morning I mixed two scoops of a quality protein powder in 12 ounces of skim milk and sipped it slowly.  Verrrrry slowly.  That got me started with 50 g of protein.  I’d do some broth or a light creamed soup at lunch and some broth at dinner.  Somewhere in the day I’d drink some more milk or blend some Greek yogurt into a broth for added protein.

Now I have significantly more choices and with that comes the responsibility to stay within my protein goals.  The basic guidelines are simple.  Eat protein dense food first.  I can only eat a small amount at a time so I should aim for eating something every three hours.

Pop Quiz:  How many protein grams in 1 oz of fresh mozarella cheese?  How many protein grams in a single egg?

Did you know the answers without looking them up?  The answers are 5 g and 6 g respectively.

I adore fresh mozarella cheese, so after the doctor’s appointment I bought a container of bocconcini (very small balls of mozarella).  Three of those balls equals a 1 oz serving for 5 g of protein.  Three is about all that I can eat at one time — and then only if I eat them half a ball at a time.

Are you beginning to see the challenge?  Small stomach = limited food capacity.   How do I pack in that protein in small amounts?

I think at least one protein shake is going to be on each day’s menu, although I can cut down to a single scoop.

Think of everything you ate today.  How many different food items did you consume?  If you right now wrote down a list, would you be able to remember every single item AND list the nutritional breakdown?

Me either.

I’ve come to accept that I need to keep a food diary.  It’s the only way that I’ll be able to keep track of what I eat and how it fits into my nutritional goals.

I hate keeping a food diary.  I’m trying to process why I’ve resisted this step in the past.  Did I not want to face reality?  Did I resent the necessity?  I don’t have an answer and, actually, what I hated to do in the past isn’t important compared to what I’m willing to do in the present and the future.

I’m a daily visitor to www.obesityhelp.com.   On the forums, I followed a few conversational threads about this topic and saw that several people recommended a site called MyFitnessPal.com.  Turns out they have an app for the iPhone.  So, today I downloaded it (freebie!) and entered today’s food choices.   I’m pledging to myself, and stating it publicly here, that I will continue the practice every day.  Every day.

Consistency is the only way that I can build this into another useful and effective tool.  This isn’t just a helpful idea, it’s now a necessity.

In my new approach, eating is no longer a matter of filling my belly and satiating my hunger.  It’s about providing my body with the nutrition I need for a good, healthy life.

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Normally, I’ll announce my week’s weight loss on Fridays, but I count based on my home scale in the morning, naked and before breakfast.  (Is that TMI?  hee hee)  I wasn’t at home this morning.  While I don’t want to be inconsistent, I still want to report and a short week is better than giving myself an extra day.  So, as of yesterday,  I’d lost 46 pounds on the journey!

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Lightness of Being

I don’t know that anyone who is overweight truly doesn’t always have that knowledge and awareness of their extra pounds in their head.  I sure couldn’t ever not think of it.  I often felt like my weight proceeded me into the room and, when I blew past merely large into super obesity, it was always my first consideration.  Whenever I faced a new task or wanted to try a particular activity, I first measured it in my head against my body size.  Would I be able to do it?  What if I couldn’t?  How should I handle it?  There were several years in the 1990s when I was always a nervous wreck about going anywhere that might require me to go through a turnstile, so sure was I that I might get stuck.

These considerations were always accompanied by stress, shame and humiliation.  If I thought this way then surely everybody around me also thought the same things when they saw me.  I don’t actually know if they did, but I had to assume so.  Every once in awhile someone would voice a comment, often as if I couldn’t hear.  To my knowledge there is no such thing as obesity-induced deafness, folks, so please keep that in mind.  We hear and, true or not, it hurts.

Since making the decision to have the weight loss surgery and then actually going through the procedure, I have noticed an incredible shift in my thinking.   I’m losing the “I won’t be able to”, the “I don’t think I should try that” and the “Oh my God, what if the worst happens?” thoughts.  Simple truth is that nothing is getting in the way of my continuous weight loss.  If I can’t physically do something now, at some point in the future, I most certainly WILL.  No more pipe dreams or impossible wishes.

Along with the thoughts, the shame and humiliation are also rapidly fading from my life.

The other day I was on a team from work that was out on our boats.  Specifically, I had to board one boat that was loaded with stuff and pick my way around to a seat.  This was my first week back at work full time and I realized quickly that I don’t have 100% of my strength back, nor my sea legs.  I felt clumsy and unsure of my footing and my team mates were quick to offer a strong hand to help shore up my balance and get me to a safe perch.

The same thing happened when we were out on the water and I had to transfer to another boat.  Without any big deal being made, help was there and I was successful.

In the past, I would have been mortified that I needed this help because my excess weight made me less graceful and sure.  The negative feelings would have burned in my gut like the worst possible heartburn times 20.

Instead, each time I could smile, accept the help and proceed with the task.  I knew in my heart and my mind that it’s not always going to be this way.  The more weight that I lose, the stronger I’ll get and the more balanced I’ll be.  My confidence will also increase after getting pretty beaten down in the last year.  I also remembered that thinner people sometimes need a hand or a balance check — not just overweight folks.   If any of the other folks on the team had needed a hand, any of us would have offered it without hesitation.

We who are overweight, carry more than the extra physical pounds.  We carry a heavy burden on our spirit, often without realizing how much it weighs us down.  It’s a joyful thing to shed that weight too.  Talk about lightness of being!

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New Coping Methods

Several years ago I was diagnosed with compulsive eating disorder.  I’d binge and eat tremendous quantities of food, in secret in the privacy of my apartment.  I found this out when I finally sought out a therapist instead of starting another diet.  The things I learned in therapy and then in the 12 step program of Overeaters Anonymous (OA) have been invaluable.

This is difficult for some people to understand, but it’s comparable to people using drugs or alcohol to cope with a range of negative emotions, or for some, with any emotions.  I medicated myself with food when I was sad, angry, depressed, lonely, stressed out — or just because.

Over the years I’ve had varying degrees of successful recovery from the behavior of binging.  I’ve had years of not binging.  It doesn’t mean that I lost weight in those periods, but I didn’t come home from a stressful day and inhale a big meal topped off by a pint of ice cream.  That’s a good thing.

Now that I’ve had the VSG, I physically can no longer binge.  Well, I suppose I could if I wanted to throw up multiple times.  I’m confident that a drastically smaller stomach pouch will be an effective deterrent .  I was never prone to bulimia purges.  I cannot imagine scarfing down two slices of pizza now to make myself feel better only to bring it all up again immediately.

The tool of the small stomach, however, does not solve the underlying problem.  Clearly in my life, I’ve had issues and turned to food to help me deal — until I turned to therapy and OA and learned much more about myself, including things like acceptance and better coping skills.

As I continue on the road of weight loss toward improved physical health, I know that I must also be vigilant in maintaining my mental and emotional recovery.  I cannot turn to outside things.  I’ve heard it is not uncommon for food addicts or compulsive over eaters to turn to drugs or alcohol when food can no longer be their “drug of choice”.  (It’s also not uncommon for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts to turn to sugar and food.)

I refuse to convert from one addiction to another.  I am determined that I will foster and encourage good emotional health through this journey.  I do not need a substance.  I can feel the feelings and handle things with energy, compassion and reasonableness.

Using food to cope or avoid or anesthetize my feelings is over.

Recovery requires balance physically, emotionally and mentally.  I can do this.  I AM doing this.

 

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Old Habits Die Hard

One of my worst old habits is my compulsive behavior over food.  See it, want it, eat it — think about it after, when it’s too late.  On my worst days of binging, I could plow through a pizza — inhale a few entire slices and then keep going back to pick off the cheese and toppings on other slices.  Finish that off with several guzzles of regular soda until I was so full that it’s surprising my body didn’t burst.

I would chow down so quickly that I wasn’t even fully aware of what I was doing and certainly didn’t know whether I was truly hungry for more, more more.

I’m working very hard on changing this destructive eating but I still slip a little here and there.  Last night, I went to the supermarket to buy some of the foods that I’m permitted to have while on this stage of my recovery.  While in the store, I caught the unbelievable, mouth-watering aroma of something wafting from the appetizer/deli/prepared food area.  I swear, it’s like I was compelled to buy just one piece and take it home.  Even though I knew that this was not a good idea and that my system would not tolerate it well, I munched and munched.  It wasn’t a large quantity — large quantities are not possible — but it was a harsh, fattier food that I ate far too rapidly, without thinking about how my stomach would react, or without caring.

Within minutes, I felt my stomach ache as a result.  On top of that, I had very little room for the healthier, protein enriched dinner that I needed.  This was a double screw up on my part.

It was also a valuable lesson.  I’m going to remember how awful I felt and how I had to fight back the nausea.  The next time that I’m tempted to repeat an old compulsive habit, I want to recall the experience and stop myself before I act.

A friend of mine who had gastric bypass surgery a few years ago warned me that I would experience times when my head would tell me I wanted to eat something I shouldn’t, or consume more than I can handle with my smaller stomach.  “Don’t be surprised if you overdo and the food comes right back up again,” she said.  Although this experience didn’t go quite that far, it was on the edge.

“You’ll only do that a couple of times before you retrain yourself.  It’s not worth it,” she added.

She’s so right.  I don’t care how great something tastes in the moment, it isn’t worth the uncomfortable results.  I’m determined to not only kill the old habit, but bury it so deep that it doesn’t come back to get me again.

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Getting Used to the New Normal

Today’s my first day back at work full time since surgery.   I came back a few half days last week, but this is major.  Physically I feel great and mentally I needed to be here and actively engaged in my regular responsibilities.

Last night, I realized that I had to prepare myself for the new normal.  This means that I need a good, solid grasp of what I need to have around to fulfill my nutritional needs.  I’m still on “full” liquids so there’s no such thing as not bringing stuff with me to work.  I can’t just run down to the lunch truck and grab a sandwich or hot dog or chicken tenders.  Thankfully, I’d thought ahead and had soup in the house that I could bring with me today.

I’m also staying on top of my fluid intake.  I live in the Florida Keys.  It’s hot down here most of the year.  I am frequently outside with my job.  It is extremely easy to dehydrate.  Once again, if I let that happen, it’s a big problem.  Gone are the days when I can grab a bottle of water and chug it down to replenish my depleted fluids.  Frankly, if I take more than a couple of sips at a time, that water wants to come right back up.  I need to sip, sip, sip and then put down the bottle and wait a moment for all of the liquid to settle.  There’s no room for guzzling.

I filled up the water glass on my desk as soon as I got in this morning.  No matter how busy I get, I reach for the glass and sip regularly.  When the glass is empty, I go right to the cooler and refill.

When I move to pureed foods, I’ll enjoy a greater variety but will still need to make sure that I have foods I can eat readily available.  Pre-planning is the key.  I think I’m going to buy a small plastic box that I can fill with some of the foods I can eat — like cottage cheese, fruity yogurt, and some ready-to-drink protein shakes.  That way, if I ever do forget to bring something from home, I’ll always have what I need around anyway.

This is my new normal.  The sooner I’m accustomed to it, the better.

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