Flashback To Visiting With A Dietitian

The beginning of October marked my 8th year since having gastric bypass surgery. I won’t rehash the story of how I got to that point since it’s in the About me page. The surgery seriously helped to limit how much I could eat and I lost 130 lbs within the first 1 1/2 years. It was basically smooth sailing for the first four years. By that time I reached a point where I could eat “normal” sized meals. This means to 3 to 4 ounces of meat, some veggies and a half of a baked potato at a meal. Or perhaps the meat and some salad. One bowl of soup. One sandwich. You get the idea.

As time went on, life changed a bit and I had less of a chance to plan out meals. Snacks from the old days started to slowly work their way in. A few crackers here, a handful of chips or nuts there. All mindlessly eaten. I refer to it as drive by snacking. A few pounds found their way home. In a short period of time they started to be joined by others. I thought it would be possible to add back in some the things I previously ate when I was nearly 300 lbs only in smaller amounts. It didn’t work and I found myself 40 lbs heavier within a year.

Panic set in. I was now one of “those people”. The ones that new WLS patients tell themselves they are absolutely SURE they will NEVER become….I was a regainer. Ack! I’ve yet to see anyone escape the regain so far.

Out came all the old diet books that I had boxed up. I had been sure they would never be needed again. The box not only had books but also all the diet papers given to me by dietitians when I had worked with them to lose weight in the past. I’m sure they wrote ‘Non compliant” in my chart after every visit. After all, if their advice was to cut fat and calories and follow their 1,200 calorie diet to lose weight and I was not able to do that then the problem was mine….not theirs. This type of one size fits all advice doesn’t work. It’s not tailored to each persons likes, dislikes and eating habits. For most of us it’s a recipe for short term success only.

Once I started working towards my nutrition degree I was very happy to discover that we are being taught how to work with clients to slowly make changes based on their needs. Goals are chosen by the client based on what they feel they are able to do. They are made very specific and measurable. How much much more empowered will someone feel when they set a goal to add 2 servings of vegetables in each day or eat 2 slices of pizza with a salad instead of 6 slices and then return to say they did it! Not only were the able to do it but it has become easier to do and they are ready for more changes. How much better to cheer along with a client who has accomplished goals that they themselves set. Goals that are measurable instead of simply judging them by the change on the scale.

Sure, watching the scale go down is what everyone wants to see in the end. For myself, I’ve seen it dozens and dozens of times. But it was never long lasting because the only goal I was ever given was to get that number down. How depressing when it barely moves or, even worse, goes up a bit.

With this in mind I tossed out all the old paperwork. I don’t need to see someone else’s diet plan for me. I started by simply making 3 goals for myself.

1. I must be sitting down at the table to eat. No more standing in front of a cabinet, the sink or eating in the car. This was to get me out of the habit of quickly snacking on something instead of eating a real meal. If I was hungry then I should eat a meal at the table.

2. Kids get their own snacks and I simply check to see they are not getting a giant bowlful of whatever. This was to stop the quick nibbling while getting them something to eat.

3. There must be some type of protein and, if possible a vegetable, with food eaten. Again, this was to help break my drive by snacking habit which was consisting of mostly high carb, high calorie foods. Sure I could have done something like eat cheese with crackers. But, I would have to eat them at the table and that sort of defeats the purpose of a quick snack.

I didn’t really change what I ate. I started by changing where and how I ate it. I took a little over a year but with those first changes and a few additional ones added in I lost what I had regained. I don’t think that it would have happened if my only goal was to cut calories by following someone else’s diet plan.

Once I graduate it is my hope is to take these techniques and use them to help others make nutritional changes that will last a lifetime and not just until the weight comes off.

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