The 5 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves After Weight Loss Surgery

Usually I’m not one to stir up controversy especially in the weight loss surgery world but sometimes you just have to crack the closet door open and let the skeletons inside see the light of day.

Normally I’m a middle of the road kind of person. If someone expresses their view point on a particular subject I can usually understand where they are coming from even if I don’t agree. This is even true about the world of nutrition. Everyone thinks that their “diet/way of eating” is the best and, when asked, they will list the many reasons why it’s true. Any disagreement simply brings on countless rounds of why your wrong and they are right. And back and forth is goes. Not much is actually accomplished by these types of conversations which is why I avoid them. This is also the main reason why I avoid posting to many of the weight loss surgery boards and forums. People believe what they want to and fighting about it is a waste of time and energy. With that being said, here are some of the biggest lies (at least to me) I hear both pre and post op weight loss surgery patients tell others as well as themselves.

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1). 100 (or however many) pounds lost FOREVER!!!!

This has got to be one of the most exasperating things to hear especially as time goes by. Yes, every single one of us was so incredibly excited after surgery. Yes, we were all absolutely positive that we would NEVER regain. The newbies proudly post how many pounds they have lost FOREVER on Facebook, their blogs, in forums, etc. And they should be proud. It’s damn hard to lose weight and even harder to keep it off. When someone talks or posts about regain they are treated like dirt by those who are still on their newbie weight loss high. The newbies (and some times long timers) talk about how regain will NEVER happen to them.

To me this is the number one lie we tell ourselves because, whether we want to admit it or not, regain of some sort will happen to the vast majority of us. Very few escape any sort of regain whether it’s simply a few pounds or the entire amount that was initially lost. Before you look down upon one of your fellow WLS members stop and think. If you really were able to lose and keep off the weight in the past then why did you have weight loss surgery? You did it for the same reason we all did. Because all the hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of pounds we have lost again and again over the years never stayed gone FOREVER. It was a struggle then and will continue to be a struggle for most. If you think your the exception to the rule please come back in a few years and let us all know how it’s going. I hope that you truly are the exception.

2). I can eat whatever I want in moderation.

I’ve written about this whole moderation thing before. It’s a trap. One that is happily perpetuated by those selling many of the foods that were our downfall in the past. Telling yourself that it’s OK to eat these same foods, just in smaller amounts, will only set yourself up for failure. If you find yourself using the whole “I can eat this particular food in moderation” line perhaps it might be time to ask yourself a few things. Will eating this little bit trigger a stronger craving for even more? Are you really only eating a small amount but doing so several times a day? Do you feel guilty after eating this food and use the moderation thing so it doesn’t seem so bad? If you’ve answered yes to these questions then perhaps you may want to avoid this food because there’s a good chance that the moderation thing is being used to justify eating something that we should avoid.

3). I’ll never eat (insert name of food or drink here) again!

Oh the number of times I’ve heard that one before. Heck, I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve said it myself. I swore that once I had surgery I would NEVER eat certain things again. For some items it took years before I tried them and others it was a matter of months. If you believe that you are rocking this whole weight loss surgery thing better than anyone else before and that you will NEVER touch whatever again then you have just fallen into lie number three. You will eat this food again. Maybe not right away but eventually, at some point in time, that food will pass through your lips. Trust me on this one. This even includes the foods that make you sick or cause dumping. Rather than deny that it will happen start thinking about what to do when it does occur. How will you handle the situation? What can you do to prevent this food from becoming an issue? Why am I eating a food that I swore I would never eat? Boredom? Anger? Sadness? Whatever the reason it will be far more helpful to yourself in the long run to work out the answer instead of telling yourself it will never happen again. This type of thinking usually leads to feelings of failure which snowballs into a whole lot of other things.

4). It’s not the calories that make you gain weight it’s the (insert your favorite evil macronutrient such as fat or carbs here).

Yes.

Yes, it is the calories.

I don’t care how many people have written books or blogs telling you you’ll lose the weight and keep it off by avoiding carbs/fat/sugar/whatever. In the beginning you probably ate the evil food items and were consuming FAR more calories that you even realized. People have no idea how many calories they are truly eating. Study after study has shown that we grossly underestimate how much we are actually eating. When you begin by cutting out the offending item you are actually reducing your caloric intake. I don’t care if cutting carbs and increasing fat keeps you feeling fuller for longer. If your feel full for a longer period of time and end up eating less then you are still reducing the calories. I find this sort of thinking very prevalent especially in the low carb community. Hey, I’m all for low carb and try to eat that way myself. But eating 4,000 calories of meat, cheese and nuts is still going to cause weight gain even if you’ve eaten less than 50 grams of carbohydrates in a day.

5). One or two drinks won’t hurt me.

This one deserves a special mention. For most, alcohol is not an issue after weight loss surgery. But there are growing numbers of people for which this has suddently become a problem. I’ve personally known several people, some who drank lightly before surgery and some who didn’t drink at all, who developed serious issues around alcohol once they had surgery. Weight loss surgery changes how food and alcohol are digested. I’ve been told by those who have had issues that the effects of the alcohol hit quickly so it doesn’t take as many drinks to get a buzz. The surgery also causes the feeling to pass even quicker than before surgery so you drink more to keep that same feeling.  If drinking was a coping mechanism for you in the past, even if it was something as simple as a nightly glass of wine to relax, you may want to rethink taking a drink. If you think you may have developed a problem with alcohol since having surgery please do not feel ashamed or embarrassed. Please seek out help. This is a serious issue and one doctor’s are becoming more aware of as the number of people having bariatric surgery are increasing.

How about you? Agree? Disagree? Think there are more lies that we tell ourselves? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

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Just Say No To Spam

Sure the blog has been gathering some cobwebs over the last month. This semesters classes (medical nutrition, community nutrition and human nutrition science) have been keeping quite busy with weekly quizzes, almost weekly projects and a bunch of tests tossed in just to keep things interesting. During this time I’ve noticed a rather disturbing trend. The place was starting to get over run with spam! No, not this spam:

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It’s more this type of spam that’s been filling up the blog as well as my email box:

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At first the email messages about comments waiting for moderation would come in once a day. When I saw that they were for something fabulous such as Louis Votton knockoff bags I simply deleted them off. Then the numbers began to increase. Two a day, three a day. The purse comments were joined by those offering sunglasses, music, clothing, etc. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I shut off the comments on the site completely thinking this would help but they still kept coming.

Ultimately the spammers figured that is they couldn’t leave comments on posts they would start commenting on pictures. Who even knew that if you clicked on a picture you could leave a comment. I sure didn’t. I finally realized the problem when the flood gates opened and the emails about comment approval started to hit my email box in huge numbers. Sometimes 20 or 30 an hour! It took a little while but I finally discovered what was happening as well as the solution. While you can shut down the comments to posts and pages in wordpress you are not able to disable media comments. Well, you could if you understood that whole php thing. Then I found this plugin: Disable Comments.

One plugin and the problem was solved. If you have a wordpress blog and are being hit by spam (the comment type and not the food product) I would highly suggest this plugin. It seems to be working well for now. I’m sure the losers that send out the spam will figure out a new way to push their junk but for now this has been a help.

School will be over shortly and then I can finally get back to posting on a regular basis. Three more classes to go and I’m finally done!

Can You Eat Cheese If Your Lactose Intolerant?

Milk. I call it liquid death. Drink it and within 15 minutes I’m thinking that death just might be better than how it makes me feel.

For me, milk is a serious slider food that will cause a rather nasty RH reaction. And very quickly too! I gave it up after a series of crashes that left me wondering what the hell was going on. At first I thought I had become lactose intolerant. Which is a possibility for many after WLS. They have all the GI symptoms of intolerance after drinking milk or eating other dairy products. Gut pain, bloating, gas and a whole lot more. Me? Not so much. It seems to cause a serious dumping episode. If you’ve had one you know what I’m talking about. First the heart palpatations kick in. Then the sweating and shakes. That’s a sign that your blood sugar has spiked and is now dropping. If it’s a small drop then the symptoms slowly subside. If it turns into a nasty RH crash then the symptoms just get progressively worse. Ravenous hunger starts accompanied by flashing lights in my vision, uncoordiated movement and not being able to think straight. Like I said, milk is liquid death for me.

Rather than try to explain milk induced gut death I simply tell people I don’t drink milk because I’m lactose intolerant. It seems to be easier to understand. But then they get that confused look on their face when I start eating cheese. That’s made from dairy so it should make me sick as well right? Yes and no.

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WLS induced gut death is caused by the naturally occuring sugars found in milk. Mainly lactose. This is also the same sugar that causes problems for people who are lactose intolerant. They have reduced amounts of the enzyme needed to break down this particular sugar. This is what causes all the GI problems they experience when eating dairy products. While us WLSers may still have enough of this enzyme to do the job the problem is actually caused by our re-routed GI tract. The milk quickly slides through the smaller stomach and hits the small intestines too quickly. The body reacts to this sudden rush of milk sugar ultimately creating a dumping episode.

So, if both WLSers and those who are lactose intolerant have issues with dairy because of the milk sugar why can we usually eat cheese?

When cheese is being made much of the lactose is removed along with the whey when the curds are removed. Even more of the lactose is removed when the cheese is aged. It seems the bacteria used to make some types of cheese use the milk sugar as a source of food. This helps to reduce the amount of lactose present in the cheese.  The longer a cheese ages the less lactose it will have. Here’s some cheese tips for both us WLSers and the lactose intolerant:

– Choose a ripened, aged cheese. These are usually hard cheeses such as cheddar, swiss, parmesan, romano, etc

– Avoid processed cheese (Velveeta anyone?). Not only is this type of cheese not ripened/aged but it also has additional milk solids added to it which makes it even higher in lactose.

– Fresh or unripened cheese such as cottage cheese, mozzarella, cream cheese and queso fresco will contain high amounts of lactose.

– Pay attention to how much cheese your eating. A sprinkly of parmesan cheese on your minestrone soup might not bother you. Eating  several ounce of cheese in one sitting might cause problems.

– For those who have had WLS another issue that might cause problem with cheese is the fat content. High amounts of fat will cause dumping symptoms for some. It might not actually be the lactose in the cheese causing a problem. It could be the fat.

If you find you also have problems with milk and are looking for a suitable replacement I highly suggest Blue Diamond Unsweetened Almond Breeze and Silk PureAlmond Milk. Both companies also have a vanilla flavor that is good to cook or bake with. I’m not a big fan of soy milk but I hear many people do enjoy it. Be careful when purchasing any type of almond or soy milk. Some are unsweetened and others, especially the chocolate flavored ones, have a lot of extra added sugar.

How about you? Have you had problems with milk or dairy products since surgery? Do you just avoid milk or have you been using a milk replacement?

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Eating In Moderation – Is It A Trap?

Lately I’ve been hearing more people talk about eating in moderation. I know I’ve done it myself. Usually it’s been a way to justify eating some type of junk or fast food. Like the day my mother came over to visit and brought fast food burgers and fries as a “treat”. She bought cheeseburgers, small fries and diet soda instead of large sized meals and regular soda. It’s that whole moderation thing. Super sized meals = bad. Smaller sized meals = good. Or at least better for you. But is it really that simple or is the phrase eating in moderation really becoming a trap that only benefits the fast food and processed food companies?

The fast food companies give us ads to promote their products such as this:

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Egg McMuffins wholesome? Really? With an ingredients list like this:

Enriched Flour (Bleached Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, 
Folic Acid),  Water, Yeast, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Wheat Gluten, Soybean Oil and/or Canola Oil, 
Contains 2% or Less: Salt, Calcium Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Citric Acid, Calcium Citrate, Yellow Corn Flour, 
Corn Meal, Rice Flour, Barley Malt, Artificial Flavors, Natural Flavors (Botanical Source), Dough Conditioners 
(Ascorbic Acid, Azodicarbonamide, Datem, Tricalcium Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Enzymes, Calcium Peroxide), 
Calcium Propionate And Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Soy Lecithin.
USDA Grade A Eggs.
Prepared with Liquid Margarine: Liquid Soybean Oil and Hydrogenated Cottonseed and Soybean Oils, Water,
 Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium 
Sorbate (Preservatives), Artificial Flavor, Citric Acid, Vitamin A Palmitate, Beta Carotene (Color).
Pasteurized Process American Cheese Allergens: Milk, Cream, Water, Cheese Culture, Sodium Citrate, Contains 
2% or Less of: Salt, Citric Acid, Sodium Phosphate, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Lactic Acid, Acetic Acid, 
Enzymes, Sodium Pyrophosphate, Natural Flavor (Dairy Source), Color Added, Soy Lecithin (Added for Slice Separation).
Canadian Style Bacon:  Pork, Water, Sugar, Salt, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, 
Sodium Diacetate And Sodium Nitrite (Preservatives).

I’m sort of failing to see the wholesomeness of it all. Sure it’s probably better than some of their other breakfast items which are a nutritional disaster but is it really wholesome? Or better? How often would eating something like this count as moderation? A few times a week? Once a week? Does anyone know?

Perhaps the Hershey’s company can tell us with their moderation nation thing they have going on.

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Given the amount of processed foods that Hershey’s produces I have my doubts about them helping us with moderation, health and nutrition.

Perhaps instead of giving these foods the green light when “eaten in moderation” we should begin by giving people the truth first. All the fast food, all the processed stuff isn’t healthy at all. Even in moderation. I think that when we keep telling people that it’s fine we aren’t doing them a favor. It keeps them thinking that what they are doing doesn’t affect their health and they put off making changes that could improve the way they feel. Instead of thinking that the Monday through Friday breakfast sandwich (made with egg whites so it’s healthy right!) or the afternoon pick me up of a small bag of chips (baked not fried!) or the snack bar whose label says it contains whole grain (healthy again right?) is ok perhaps we need to look at it like it really is……highly processed junk that affects our health no matter what the amount. If we realize it’s junk we then may begin asking ourselves do we really want to eat it? Is there a better option?

I’m not the food police and I’m guilty of using the idea of moderation to keep eating junk. I spent a good portion of my life trying to keep eating the processed “bad” foods that I liked by replacing them with less “bad” foods…..in moderation of course. It didn’t work out so well. It’s sort of like someone trying to justify that smoking a few cigarettes every day is OK because it’s better than smoking a pack. These days I’ve started to just call it what it is…..junk that makes me feel lousy. And, just to prove the point, I barely made it through half the cheeseburger and a couple of fries before my rerouted guts informed me that what I was doing needed to stop. The gut death pains kicked in to remind me that no amount of moderation was going to make the crap that I was eating any better for me.

And everyone else? My husband quickly fell into junk food induced sluggishness and took a nap. Had he been at work and ate this for lunch I’m sure he would have got a coffee and a snack to keep himself awake for the remainder of the afternoon. One of the kids soon complained of a stomachache and another had some bathroom issues a few hours later. My mother called later in the day, once she had returned home, and said her blood sugar was high…..could the hamburger and fries have done this? Yes. Even though it was just a small one. Yes. Ah the price we pay for moderation.

How about you? What do you think of the idea of moderation? Good, bad or it all depends?

The Best Chocolate Chip Muffins

I previously posted about using pureed beans to replace butter in baked good recipes. Here’s a recipe that I make using the 50/50 mix. I’ve also replaced the butter with 100% pureed beans. The kids still love them. They taste just as good as the original but they don’t stay moist as long when stored in the refrigerator. That’s one of the magical properties of butter in baked goods. It helps to retain moistness and crumb texture. While the beans allow the texture of the muffins to stay very similar they do effect moistness. Of course, if the muffins get eaten in a day or two then you really don’t have to worry about that.

While this recipe is for chocolate chip muffins you can replace the chips with lots of things. Blueberry muffins are another favorite.

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The Best Chocolate Chip Muffins
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 to 18
 
These muffins are lower in fat because they use a pureed bean and butter mixture to replace half the butter that is normally found in the recipe. They still taste great! Find the bean/butter receipe here http://remakemyplate.com/using-pureed-beans-as-a-fat-replacer/
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter or bean/butter mixture at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar or Splenda for baking
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Line muffin pan with paper cups or spray muffin pan with nonstick spray
  3. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl mix the butter (or bean/butter mixture) until creamy.
  5. Add the sugar (or Splenda) and beat until pale.
  6. Add the eggs in and beat until well mixed.
  7. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  8. With a spoon, fold in half the flour mixture. Then add half the milk. Repeat.
  9. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  10. Spoon mixture into muffin cups and bake 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown and set in the center.
Notes
This recipe will make 12 larger sized muffins or 18 - 2 oz muffins.

For all you WLS’ers, diabetics and those with RH please note that this is NOT a low carb recipe. However, if you divide the batter up to make 18 muffins they will be approximately 2 ounces in size. This is actually suppose to be the real “serving size” of muffins. Unlike the super duper sized ones we are all use to seeing.

Personally I make the smaller sized ones. They are a great size for kids to take for lunch. Muffins to us are a once in a while snack and not a meal so the 2 oz muffins are perfect.

FREEZER TIP: these muffins freeze very well. Place in a plastic freezer bag, seal and then place in a second freezer bag. Double bagging the muffins helps to keep them from losing moisture (all those ice crystals or frost you see on frozen items).

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