When people come to me seeking out advice about whether or not to have the DS or some other form of weight loss surgery a lot of question and answer goes on.
Forefront in everyone’s mind, however, is the question – the fear – “Will I ever be able to enjoy eating again?” or along a similar line, “In exchange for losing this weight, will I be losing any kind of quality of life that resembles normal – with food?”
People who are thin might smirk and think, “Duh – a fat person would think about that first!” (Not many of them, most of them are pretty nice. There are a few buttheads out there, though!)
I would put it to anyone who had that kind of response to consider what THEIR future – the remainder of their life– would be like if THEY were having to make the same choice, and live with the same outcomes. I feel prettyconfident that they’d eventually figure out that they do in fact enjoy food, and might not be willing to sacrifice that level of enjoyment for the remainder of their days.
So it’s pretty natural to have those thoughts, questions, and concerns.
With any form of WLS you’re changing the WAY you eat – as in the actual mechanics.
With the DS, we tell patients to start out with sips that are teaspoon sized – you know, like the teaspoon you set the dinner table with, not the measuring spoon kind. And bites no bigger than from the tip of your index finger to the first joint of that finger. You have to chew slowly, and carefully. Then when you swallow, you put your fork or spoon down, and wait 2 to 3 minutes before going forward with the next bite or sip.
It’s hard to go slow!
It’s hard to wait!
I remember thinking I didn’t scarf food – I was SURE I took small bites – as a pre-op. It wasn’t until I was a post-op that I realized how wrong I was! As a baby post-op 1/4 of a sandwich sized bites DO NOT work. They will bring you misery at the very least!
It’s a big deal, the whole eating thing. As an early post-op you’ve got surgical swelling at play – it can take weeks upon weeks for that to resolve – so less capacity initially. Then there’s the whole anesthesia thing – getting that worked out of your system can make you a little nuts sometimes. And then there’s the fact that we burn fat at an exponential rate as baby post-ops – and so then you also have to factor in a whole heck of a lot of free radical estrogen at play. Some of us get happy, some get sad, some get mad, some just get really, really cranky. Add to that the fact that you’ve just had major surgery and you tire easily, you – and possibily your loved ones – are expecting you to bounce right back into real life in record time (which is completely unrealistic, by the way), and everyone has eyes on you wanting to know how much weight you’ve lost at every turn. So nice of them to care, but dang it all, sometimes folks just need to give it a rest!
This early post-op stuff is not for the weak of heart!
Foods that we used to love taste awful. Foods that we used to hate all of a sudden sound fabulous. Fatty stuff is horrifying. Sweet is too sweet. We have this burden to get in enough hydration – 64 oz of non-sweetened (artificially or otherwise) fluids daily by the time you’re 10 days post-op – and most of us just don’t FEEL thirsty, and so it’s a real struggle to get it in. It takes discipline – and discipline is the last thing you want to have when you’re dealing with being a baby post-op.
So I thought I should offer some helps here about what it is like to be a baby post-op. Give some ideas as to what to eat, how to eat, some insider tips. And hopefully give some resources that will help make baby post-op life a happier thing.