5 Things to Remember If You’re Getting a Gastric Sleeve

It’s only 16 days until my sleeve operation, and there are so many thoughts running through my mind. Part of me is super-excited about having the operation; part of me is absolutely terrified. And that’s normal. I’ve been reminding myself of a few things to stay focused.

  1. It’s not going to be easy in the beginning.

    Let’s face it: the pre-op diet and the initial phases are not going to be a walk in the park, but if you’ve already been approved for a gastric sleeve you know that already. This is NOT a quick fix. Don’t treat it that way. See the Pre-Op Liquid Diet as the beginning of resetting your body. And those first months of Post-Op Sleeved Life are when you’re re-learning to eat and putting good habits into practice.

  2. Surround yourself with supportive people.

    I’ve been lucky in having people in my life who totally support me, but not everyone is so lucky. If your family and friends are against your decision, see if you can convince them to go to an information session or have them read information about bariatric surgery on Obesity Coverage, so they’ll have a better understanding of the procedure and why you want to do it. Also, ask your doctor about local support groups, join support groups on Facebook or follow fellow sleeve patients on Instagram. You need to find your tribe and having people who love and support you along the way, as well as fellow patients who’ve already gone through it, or will be going through it at the same time as you, will help. They’ll be your biggest cheerleaders, even when you think you can’t do it. 

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    Get a planner or a journal and use it to track your progress.  (Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)

  3. Don’t give up just because you have a setback.

    We all stumble sometimes. There will probably be times when you eat the wrong thing or eat too much as you try to get used to your sleeve. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, consider keeping a journal, chart your journey into the sleeved life–progress and setbacks. Write down what food agrees or disagrees with your sleeve, jot down your new fitness levels. Give yourself a page a week for a To Do list or a weekly goal and add when you’ve achieved that goal. Reward yourself at the end of the week–treat yourself to a massage or a new outfit or something other than food. or That way, you’ll have a way of reminding yourself of all you’ve gone through and Use your journal as tool to keep you motivated–and a way to keep from repeating the same mistakes.

  4. Prepare for the journey.

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    Prep yourself! 🙂 Start planning meal ideas. 

    Even with the classes you attend before your operation, there will be questions you forget to ask (or maybe don’t feel comfortable asking) your surgeon or your nutritionist. Don’t be afraid to ask those questions though. They are there to help you, so ask away! If you’re already in a support group, ask the members. Buy bariatric-friendly cookbooks to help you plan your meals for all the phases of your Post-Op Life. If your surgery date is already set, stock your cupboards and fridge with everything you need for the first phase of your Post-Op Life, the liquid phase. That way, you won’t have to worry about what you should eat (or should I say drink?) as you recuperate from your surgery.

  5. You’re doing this for YOU.

    There are a lot of reasons that we decide to make changes to our lives. We might do things to help our families or friends. We might do things to get ahead at work. But this journey…this is all about YOU. Don’t make it about anyone else. You’re doing this because you want to feel better, you want to take control of your life. Don’t do it if you think it’s going to make people love you. Do it because YOU love YOU.

Happy Birthday to Me

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No, I did NOT have cake.

Today is my birthday and, instead of doing as I would normally do–that is drink far too much champagne, consume lots of cheese and bread and essentially splurge all day long–I’ve tried to stay within my 900-calorie limit. I probably went over it a tad bit, but the rest of the week is back to the usual meal plan.

You see, it’s Day 8 of my Pre-Op Liquid Diet, but I was granted a cheat day for my birthday. As much as I wanted to eat a slice of Budapest cake, I didn’t. My husband asked me what I wanted for breakfast. I just couldn’t have yet another boiled egg or a powder smoothie, so I asked for half of a waffle, a small piece of sausage and a fried egg. I washed it down with coffee and oat milk. That kept me full until well past 2PM. I probably should have had a shake or a smoothie, but I wasn’t hungry. I had some tea instead.

Later, I walked to my local café and had a cup of coffee and read a few chapters of Halsey Street by Naima Coster. If you are a bookworm like me, then I wholeheartedly recommend that you add this novel to your TBR list. It’s a fantastic story of family, loss and gentrification set in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn. While I was reading, I was reminded of observing the good and bad of gentrification in my own old neighbourhood in Philadelphia, but that’s another discussion for another day. When I came home, my husband and I toasted to my day with one glass of sparkling wine.

So now the day is slowly creeping towards dinnertime and for the first time since this morning I am beginning to feel hungry. I initially thought I wanted soup for dinner. I’d picked out a great recipe from Pinch of Yum for spicy peanut soup with sweet potato and kale, but then I found another recipe that sounded more like what I was in the mood for: spicy chicken sweet potato magic bowl, so that is what my gorgeous husband is making for me.

There will be no cake today. I’ll content myself with a cup of coffee. I have to keep reminding myself that I am making good progress. Got to keep my eyes on the prize: January 23 – surgery day.

If you’ve already undergone a sleeve, how do you usually celebrate your birthday?

 

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3 cookbooks for my soon-to-be sleeved life

All of my life, I’ve loved food. I grew up surrounded by family members who knew how to throw down in the kitchen. My great-aunt Francis, my grandmother Gertrude, my great-uncle John, my cousin Yuhnis, my great-aunt Louise, Aunt Florence…the list could go on. Every holiday meant good food and plenty of it.

My appreciation for good food started early.

So now, when I have made the decision to get a gastric sleeve, I wanted make sure that I could still enjoy good food without feeling like everything post-op would have to be bland. I needed inspiration and advice beyond what my nutritionist has said. I needed to know that I could have good food again, without stinting on flavour. I spoke to my friend, Pernilla, who assured me that I could live the sleeved life and enjoy a glass of wine and flavourful food again.

Yes, I breathed a sigh of relief.

I also wanted to make sure that my husband (who is not getting sleeved) and I would be able to eat together and enjoy what we eat. So I started doing research and found a few cookbooks that will hopefully ensure that I will not go through life grimacing at bland food.

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FRESH START Bariatric Cookbook

by Sarah Kent, MS RDN CD

I ended up ordering the FRESH START Bariatric Cookbook from Amazon UK since neither of the Swedish online bookstores I usually use had it in stock.

I used Look Inside and was pleasantly surprised that this cookbook contained more than just recipes; it also included advice on things to consider and what to order when eating out at restaurants, judging portion sizes, etc.

This particular cookbook rated high with many readers. The fact that this cookbook was written by a registered dietician and nutritionist also helped tipped the scales in favour of ordering it.

Screen Shot 2017-12-30 at 19.20.59Eating Well After Weight Loss Surgery

by Patt Levine and Michele-Bontempo-Saray

I’m not one who can settle for just one cookbook. When I read the reviews Eating Well After Weight Loss Surgery received (and it was recommended to me by someone who’d already undergone a gastric sleeve) I decided to order it.

A Look Inside revealed some very tasty sounding recipes as well as advice for post-surgery life. The sample recipes seemed easy to follow and the slew of good reviews convinced me that this was a cookbook worth having.

Screen Shot 2017-12-30 at 19.29.52Weight-Loss Surgery Cookbook

by Shasta Press

Another cookbook highly recommended by someone who has already undergone the operation. I have just ordered Weight-Loss Surgery Cookbook, so hope to receive it in the coming days.

From a Look Inside, I found a list of recommended pantry staples and a selection of recipes that sounded right up my alley.

Once I have all three cookbooks, I will ask my husband to test prepare a few dishes. I want us both to be able to enjoy eating together so that we don’t have to feel like we always have to prepare two separate meals.  Based on the reviews all three books have received, we should be okay, but I will definitely keep you posted. We are both picky about food, so if we don’t like it, we’re kind of vocal. 🙂

If you’ve already gone through weight loss surgery and have recommendations for good cookbooks, drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.