Weighty Matters

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Quick Changes and Daily Choices

on May 3, 2012

I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that things change pretty quickly when you do something relatively drastic like have 70% of your stomach removed.

Yeah, Mary.  You think? 🙂

There really wasn’t much “easing into” aspect to the new way of eating, even though it seemed like a lengthy transition process.  Yes, I did a week of clear liquids, then four weeks of full liquids, and a week of mushy and soft food before I started on solids.  I’ve sort of slowly integrated individual foods over the last months.  However, the essential change from being able to eat large quantities of food at one meal to only eating really small portions happened immediately.

Still, it sometimes surprises me.  Last night after Tai Chi, friends and I went to this popular little pub that’s known for their pizza and for the fact that the walls and ceiling are covered with dollar bills that guests staple to the wood.  I love pizza and particularly the hot, fresh, thick crust variety served at this pub.  In the past, I could easily have eaten three slices from a large pie, chased down with a couple of beers or sodas.

I was really looking forward to the treat.  I ordered an 8″ personal pizza for one.  It arrived in front of me and looked absolutely huge.  Granted, it had a thick helping of yummy melted cheese, but even then, it still looked, to my eyes, like it could feed a family of four.  That’s the change that I’ve already seen in how I now perceive portion size.

Logically, it was probably the equivalent of two slices from a full-size pizza, but to me . . . Wow.  I took a quarter of the pie and then cut it in half.  I admit that I ate all of the cheese topping but then only picked at the crust from one of the smaller slices.  That was it.  I was completely satisfied.

Another quick change has been the rapid reduction of my blood sugar.  I haven’t taken meds since the surgery but my morning numbers are terrific, even going into the low-to-mid 90s some mornings.  While I hoped that this would resolve, I truly didn’t expect the change to happen this soon.

A change for which I’m very grateful is the one in my attitude.  I was truly afraid that I’d go through the surgery and then resent the unreversable change, so it’s been a blessing so far that I’ve embraced the lifestyle alterations I’ve made so far and continue to make new ones.  I think it was my biggest fear that I’d regret doing this and then be pissy and miserable about it for the rest of my life.  Even worse, I feared that I would choose to push the limits of my new stomach size and try to stretch things out.  Did I say feared?  To be completely honest, it’s much deeper.   I’m still on the brink of terrified that I’ll eventually sabotage myself and return to the old ways.

The road to success takes me past a neverending series of choices and options.  There’s the big choice — success or failure.  Believe me, that’s a choice I have to make every day.  Then, as each day progresses, I have to decide to stick to the food plan and narrow it down to the individual food items for each of the six times that I eat each day.  Add in daily decisions on exercise.  This is a journey with a lot of thought and steps.  No coasting!

The bottom line is that I like the changes that I’m seeing in myself and that I’m feeling in my mindset and emotions.  These are all positively reinforcing and that makes it easier for me to continue picking the right choices.

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5 responses to “Quick Changes and Daily Choices

  1. londonmabel says:

    In re the comments – the people at Mindless Eating do all those fun experiments that have proven things like the reduction is pleasure after the first mouthfuls, how the shape of a glass affects us, etc. They do fun stuff.

    http://mindlesseating.org/

  2. pinkpelican says:

    I’ve had the same experience with the perception of portion size. Funny, that part actually happened LITERALLY overnight. I went into the hospital for surgery (& my program allowed me to eat “normally” right up to the day before surgery when I went on liquids) with the perception that an 8 oz steak & a baked potato & a side of green beans was the “right” portion size.

    Then I had the surgery, and the next morning they brought me in my “breakfast”. It was a tray covered in dishes. There was a plate under a cloche (which turned out to be mysteriously empty … I’m not sure why they brought me an empty, clean, hot plate). There was a bowl (at least 1 cup) of jello. There was a bowl of broth. There were 2 bottles of water. There were a couple of other things on there.

    And all I could think was, “Oh dear god, save me. Surely they don’t expect me to consume all that.”

    Now granted, I was 12 hours out from surgery and all I wanted was to drink a little water and NOT MOVE. But over the next week or so (& here again, my program graduated me straight to pureed food, & a week after that I was on soft foods), two bites and I was done.

    It took me 3 to 4 months to get to 3 – 4 ounces per meal.

    We bought a bunch of little storage bowls. For a while, I brought my lunch to work in tiny 2 ounce ziplock cups. Now, I use small glass 6 – 8 ounce bowls to transport my lunch to and from work, and those seem PLENTY big to me. I have some larger bowls – 12 – 16 ounce ones – that I use to store larger helpings in the fridge. Sometimes, when my little bowls all need to be washed and I only have one of the next size up, it’s really hard for me to use it for a single meal portion. It’s just TOO big. I’m afraid I’ll overload it & then overeat; or I’ll put a “normal for me” size portion in the bigger bowl & my portion will look too small and I’ll get my head all messed up.

    We use small bowls and ramekins to eat out of at home. I mostly use coffee cup saucers or maybe dessert/salad plates as my biggest dish. I look at “normal” sized servings of stuff, and the only way I can deal with it is knowing that lots of that food is going into a box.

    It’s AMAZING how fast the portion size perception changes.

  3. I think the attitude thing is, at least in part, because you really, truly WANTED to change. No one made you do it, no one pushed you into it, you chose this change and now you are owning it. That’s not to say there will be occasional regrets or minor failures or whatever along the way, but the overall trend is successful attitude change and bodily change.

    In Parade magazine this past Sunday, there was an article about how chefs keep themselves thin. Or at least thin-ish. One of the guys said something about food and dessert in particular that resonated with me, he said that after three bites the initial joy and pleasure of that food is mostly gone. The first bite, you’re going oh, my God, this is so GOOD! The second bite, oh yeah, it really is that good. Third bite, yup good. After that, you’re mostly just eating from the memory of that first bite. That is totally paraphrased and changed but that was what I got out of it.

    • Mary Stella says:

      I saw that article and it resonated with me too. I noticed the same behavior in myself while away. The dessert they served was chocolate cheesecake, which I love. Two bites and I was satisfied. That’s a huge difference from when I would have eaten two whole slices!

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