Giving up the Pepsi was not easy. 40 years of it being practically the only thing I ever drank made it close to impossible!
I decided however, that this was that important, and if the worst thing I had to do was give up Pepsi, I could do it!
The surgeon’s assistant Shannon set me up for a battery of tests. EKG, upper GI, ultrasound, blood tests, you name it, they tested it! All of these tests had to be in a certain range of results to keep me qualified for the surgery. Miraculously, I passed.
I began to see Chelsea the nutritionist about every two weeks. I never left there without learning something new. She explained right off the bat that I needed to understand that I would be able to eat almost anything when the post surgery diets were done, just not much of it.
She pointed out that I needed to start preparing by not drinking 30 minutes before eating, during eating, or 30 minutes after eating. The pouch that would now be my stomach was only to be about the size of a chicken’s egg. It wasn’t going to hold much, so I shouldn’t waste the space with liquid.
She also said that I should take 30 minutes to eat my meal. The slower you eat, the more time the food you’re eating has to digest. I think that this was probably one of the hardest parts of this, and I still struggle with it. I have always been a quick eater. I think I always felt that I had better things to be doing, so I should hurry up and finish and get back to it.
She even suggested changing the size of my plate. Because I would be eating such small portions, a dinner plate would look empty even with my meal on it. I started using salad plates for my meals, which helped my mind adjust to the portion sizes.
When dishing up my meal, I was to mentally divide my plate into 4 quarters. One quarter was to hold 3 oz. of protein, another was to hold the carbohydrate, and the last two were for fruits and vegetables.
I would need to make sure that I always had a daily intake of 60 grams of protein and 60 oz. of water. Not getting enough protein daily can lead to issues like hair loss, skin and nail problems, and severity of infections, just to name a few. Not drinking enough liquids could result in severe dehydration which could cause a rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, fevers, and more.
I had to start thinking of all of this not as a diet, but as a lifestyle change. Once the surgery was done, this is the way my life was going to be. It was imperative that I make sure that I was taking in the nutrients that I needed daily. Getting used to it before, was going to be helpful.
To be continued….