It’s a common concern for postop patients……Am I eating too much??
With all the questions that come after your weight-loss surgery, it can become almost addicting to talk to other patients about how much they can eat. Am I normal? Is this normal? Am I doing it right?
While I don’t have children yet, I can’t help but wonder if this is what new parents feel. Is this normal? Am I doing it right?
Similar to parenting, there isn’t always a hard and fast rule to getting it right. But there are great pieces of advice and lessons to learn from others. Talking to other parents or reading books definitely has it’s place. The same holds true in regards to weight-loss surgery. Go to Support Groups. Talk to other patients. Email your providers. BUT the best way to learn, is to keep figuring things out for yourself!
With that in mind, I do have a few thoughts when it comes to the amounts you can eat after surgery. Here are a few examples of patients feeling they were able to eat far more than they thought they should:
This past week I received an email from one on my patients recently out of surgery. She is on regular foods now and the amounts she can eat is bringing her some stress. While out with friends and visiting while she was eating, she realized she had eaten her whole bowl of chili. She was terrified.
- In her case, I was able to identify what was likely the reason she was able to eat far more than she thought. She took an hour to eat it. The best time frame for a meal is 20-30 minutes. Twenty minutes is how long it takes your brain to identify fullness but more than 30 minutes and the first bites you took are on it’s way out. It becomes more of a grazing pattern and will allow more food to be eaten. She was relieved to know it wasn’t a broken or messed up pouch she was dealing with, it was just a lesson she learned about putting her food away after thirty minutes.
Another example is a patient who was able to drink with meals without discomfort. He/she was under the impression drinking with meals was only right after surgery and was surprised when portions starting appearing much larger.
- By drinking in between bites, the fluid empties the food from the pouch quickly allowing more room for more food. The fluid rule is a lifelong guideline in order to keep food in your pouch for a longer period of time keeping you full and away from snacking. A simple reminder of why the fluid guidelines exist and the portions decreased.
After experiencing discomfort with eating meats a patient was gravitating more towards softer foods like tuna salad and deli meats. She was bothered by how much she was able to eat and felt she was getting hungry more often during the day.
- The textures of food play a big part in how much you can eat. Often times when you feel uncomfortable after a meal, the size of the bites you took or the speed of your eating caused you to feel bad. It’s tempting to stop eating dense protein and eat softer things that won’t hurt. Trouble is, the softer something is the more you can eat and the sooner you feel hungry. You can’t eat as much hamburger patty and chicken breast as you can egg salad so portions will decrease when you focus on more solid protein. BUT bite sizes must be no bigger than the size of a black bean to feel comfortable when you eat these foods.
I hope that gives you some insight into the reasons how you eat and what you eat can change your portions. This is one of the reasons I don’t have my patients weigh out their foods but rather focus on small bites, eating slowly and stopping when they are satisfied, regardless of the amount. I’d rather the meal be filling than too small causing hunger sooner.
Don’t overly worry yourself with how much you are eating. Choose the right foods and be smart when you eat. This will allow the portions to work out just how they are meant to be for you :)