Weighty Matters

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Dear Diary

on February 24, 2012

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.


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!

8 responses to “Dear Diary

  1. pinkpelican says:

    I get frustrated journaling my food, too. It was one of the reasons I couldn’t maintain a weight watchers program for too long. But, I find that if I don’t do some kind of monitoring, I’m liable to backslide. What I’m trying right now is keeping a food diary for one week at the beginning of each month. For that week, I’ll be hyper aware of what I consume, and then for another three weeks I can see how I do. I did it the first time last month. I found I tended to get a bit more lax about what I was willing to put in my mouth as the non-journaling weeks went on, but I’m doing the journal this week. I also find it helps me keep track of protein & make sure I make choices that get the protein in. This, actually, stuck with me better after last month’s one-week journaling. I consistently thought, “Am I making sure I get in the protein I need right now?”

    If one week a month doesn’t work, then I’ll try something else. The big thing is figuring out what works best for each of us individually.

    Good luck to you!

  2. robenagrant says:

    I’m so happy and excited for you, Mary. That is awesome!
    I also weigh naked, before breakfast. I keep a workout and water intake diary. If I find myself failing with the healthy eating I get out one of my daily menu sheets (which I made and then printed up) and put it on the fridge door with magnets. I make myself fill in every thing I eat for as many days as it takes for it to become automatic again. Haven’t had to use one yet this year. Weight loss is slow but steady, and I’m not complaining. : )

  3. inkgrrl says:


    I weigh in that way as well. Otherwise I find myself deducting fifteen pounds for a yoga top and yoga pants.

  4. marti91257@comcast.net says:

    How about cottage cheese? 1/2 C has a whopping 10g of protein!

    • Mary Stella says:

      Cottage cheese and ricotta are definitely on the list!

      I can function on small amounts and low calories for a number of reasons. One is because I eat protein dense stuff. The other is because my body is burning stored fat which it converts to energy.

      It helps that the part of the body that produces the hunger hormone was removed so I am not plagued with overwhelming hunger pangs.

  5. You are doing so well with this. I’m reading it and thinking how upbeat and hopeful and enthused you sound about it all and that just makes me happy for you.

    How on earth can you walk around and function on so few calories a day? When I have limited my intake if I go much below 13 – 1400 I get so cranky and irritable, there is no living with me, I can’t even live with me. I know you are limited by sheer amount right now, but it would make me all head-achy and wobbly feeling all the time.

    I did a food diary online for a while – I think it was FoodDiary.com – and while it worked really well I just got tired of the work of entering every damn think I ate into it. Also, because I cook, real cooking, not packaged stuff, it meant entering all the ingredients and then trying to figure out serving size which was hard.

  6. lunarmom says:

    I have a notebook on the kitchen counter, it lives there. With a pen.
    No fancy phones or apps for me, plain old lined pages. Write it all down. I’ve done it for years. New ideas in the works right now though (and I just read a cool book which is helpful too) so I may only need the food journal another short period of time. (Wouldn’t THAT be a dream come true?!)

    Great progress, and nah, not TMI. That’s how I weigh-in too.

  7. What great progress you’ve made! Congratulations on the weight loss and even more so on the life-changes you’re making and following through on.

    I’m so happy for you.

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