Tag: <span>Diet</span>

It’s exactly one year ago today that I went into St Vincent’s Private Hospital in Dublin to get my Gastric Bypass surgery.

It’s been a strange year, what with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s also been a great year in terms of prioritising my health.

My weight loss surgery was never about being slim, because I’m not. I’m still obese. But having lost over 40 kg of weight, I’m a lot more healthy than I was before. And I’ve significantly reduced the risk of life-altering (or indeed life-ending) diseases. And that’s much more important to me!

My obesity disease is under control. I’ve lost weight, and I’ve not immediately put it all back on again, which would happen every time I stopped dieting. The surgery has been an invaluable tool to help me stop overeating, which is great. Even though I have pretty-much reverted to the same diet I had before the surgery, I’m not gaining weight!

And even if I don’t lose any more weight, I’ll still be delighted with the outcome.

I would totally recommend it to anyone that struggles with their weight. In the past I totally fitted the stereotype of a yo-yo dieter. I was use a calorie-counting app, or go to a slimming club, and I would lose 30kg / 5 stones / 70 lbs over the course of 6 months – but then sometime would happen, I would stop using the app or going to the club, old habits would return, and all of the weight I lost (and often more) would return.

However getting the bariatric surgery has helped break that recurring cycle of loss and gain. This time, it’s going to help me keep the weight off!

My Story Surgery

I’ve been hovering around the same weight – give or take a kilo – for the last 6 weeks. And, more worryingly, for the last 4 weeks my weight has actually been creeping up!

I had been making good progress, and in first 7 months after my gastric bypass surgery I managed to lose 40 kg (over 6 stone) in weight. But since then my progress has stalled. And I kind-of know why.

Too much snacking and bad snacking

My main meals have pretty much stayed the same. I’m eating the same breakfast, lunch and dinner as I usually would – with an emphasis on protein rather than carbs.

However, I’ve got into the really bad habit of snacking on sweets between meals – which means I’m consuming a fair amount of sugar and empty calories. My particular undoing at the moment are mints, which I often eat unconsciously while at my desk, and they’re almost pure sugar.

If I can reduce the amount of snacking between meals, or at least make my snacks more healthy, then hopefully start to lose a bit of weight again. The key to this is to not have unhealthy snacks in the house, because I’m only picking at them because they’re handy.

I might also start tracking all my foods again in MyFitnessPal, which is a pain the hole to do, but it really useful in helping to keep track of my daily calories and macro-nutrients.

A lack of upper body strength

I’m pretty good at doing exercise that builds strength in my lower body. I walk and/or cycle pretty much every day, which helps build strength and muscles in my legs. But I do pretty much no training that helps build muscles in my upper body.

I’ve been told that people losing weight after bariatric surgery are prone to losing muscle mass as well as body fat. And to counteract this muscle loss, it’s important to eat lots of protein, but also to do strength and resistance training.

I went to see an Exercise Physiologist a couple of weeks ago, and he gave me an exercise plan to help with building my upper body, but I haven’t actually started doing it. I tell myself that it’s because I’m still waiting for my dumbbells to arrive – but it’s probably more related to laziness!

My Story Surgery

I came across this Comeragh protein water drink at the checkouts in Aldi a few days ago.

I haven’t seen any other protein water drinks for sale in supermarkets, and so I was excited to try it. It says that the 500ml bottle contains 10g of protein, is just 50 calories, and is priced at €1.49 a bottle. The protein comes from peas, and so the drink is suitable for vegans.

There seemed to be two flavours available – Orange, and Lime & Lemon – but I’ve only tried the second one. It certainly tastes of lemon and lime, but there’s some other flavour in it that I can’t quite place – maybe it’s the taste of peas?!

I’d say that some people might not like the taste, so I’d recommend trying it out before buying a whole load of them.

Here’s the information from the Aldi website about the two different flavours:

Orange flavoured Aldi Comeragh Protein Water

As a bariatric patient, I have found it challenging to get enough protein in my diet – particularly as I’m not a fan of the milky protein shakes and drinks that are more widely available. I’ve tried using the protein isolate drinks, and they’re OK. But mostly I rely on things like Filfil bars to get extra protein.

I’ve written before about being a bit obsessed about my protein intake. I’m not so bad these days, as I’ve stopped tracking my food intake in a bid to ‘normalise’ my diet going forward. But I still like the idea of being able to supplement the protein into my diet.

Diet Surgery

It’s exactly five months today since I had my gastric bypass surgery, and my progress so far is that I’m down 33 kg (5 st 3 lbs / 73 lbs) from my weight on the day of surgery.

I’m really pleased with the weight loss, and I can definitely tell the difference. I feel a lot healthier than I was, and I am more able to do things than before. In fact I now seek out opportunities to exercise, which is something I would have always avoided in the past!

I’ve also dropped one or two clothing sizes, and I’m able to finally wear some of the clothes that have been languishing in my wardrobe for years waiting for me to lose weight.

In the first 3-4 months the weight fell off me quite quickly, although in the last few weeks that rate of loss has definitely slowed down. I suppose the Christmas and New Year period didn’t help, because I went a bit mad in terms of they type and quantity of food I was eating.

But, you know what? As long as my weight continues to go down – even by a small amount – then I’ll still be happy!

Ways to boost my progress

In the last couple of weeks I’ve managed to re-focus myself on my weight loss. For one thing, I’m now back to tracking everything I eat in the MyFitnessPal app. It’s a bit tedious having to enter everything, and work out quantities and portion sizes, but it helps me eat more consciously and make better decisions about what I do or do not eat.

I’m also trying to push myself more when doing out for my daily walk with the dogs. I want to get my heart rate up so that my Fitbit will give me lots of Active Zone Minutes. I have to walk fast enough so that I’m a bit out of breath to get my heart rate up enough – so I make sure to include a few steep inclines and sets of steps to get the heart pumping.

Surgery Weight

If I need to add a bit of extra protein into my diet, I’ve found that Fulfil bar are a good and tasty choice, and they’re also Irish!

Each 55 gram bar has 20 grams of protein in it, but less than 3 grams of sugar. So they’re a handy and healthy way to add protein into my diet, and for less than 200 calories per bar.

They’re very filling, and I often find that I can’t finish a whole bar in one go.

There’s a range of different flavours, and some of them I’m more keen on than others – but the Peanut & Caramel, Chocolate Orange, and Hazelnut Whip flavours I find are really nice.

They’re also not cheap. In the supermarket they’re about €2.50 to buy individually – but if you’re a real fan you can buy them in bulk online, and a box of 15 costs around €30.00 (that’s €2.00 each).

I mentioned that I was eating them to my bariatric dietician when I saw her for my 3-month appointment, and she seemed very happy with them.

Products Surgery

Like many overweight people I used to crave high-fat and high-sugar foods before my surgery. But those cravings have now gone!

When I think back to the amount of bad food I used to eat, I’m shocked. My actual meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – were generally quite healthy, but all the snacks I used to eat in between were full of fat or sugar, and sometimes both.

I was sometimes consuming more calories in snacks during a day than in my combined meals!

However I’ve noticed that since my gastric bypass surgery many of my cravings have now disappeared. I don’t crave chocolate anymore, or jellies or mints. I don’t crave crisps. And I don’t crave chips or fried foods.

The only thing that still appeals to me are savory foods, such as bread or cheese – but I have them now in moderation as part of my normal meals, and so I have no desire to snack on them.

I suppose it helps that I’m not really getting hungry between meals. I’m really lucky that way, because I hear of other bariatric patients that experience a lot more hunger than me, and are a lot more tempted to snack.

The only problem area for me is when I’m doing a food shop. It doesn’t help that the supermarkets are absolutely jam-packed with sweets and rich foods, as it’s on the run up to Christmas. I sometimes look at something on a shelf, and some memory fires in the back of my mind saying that I want it. But when I think about it a bit more, I realise that I don’t actually want it, and that whatever desire that popped in my head doesn’t exist any more.

It happened to me the other day. I was messaged by a friend who had just bought himself some Stollen from the supermarket. Now this time last year I would have been all over that as I used to love marzipan. And initially when I got the message I thought “I should get some of that”. But when I stopped to think about it, I realised that I don’t actually want any. The thought of marzipan just doesn’t appeal any more, and I was fine with that.

I do wonder, however, if this is just a temporary thing. I don’t know whether I’m just in a post-surgery ‘honeymoon’ period, or whether these cravings are gone for good!

Diet Surgery