Stomach surgery: seeing the Dietician

Yesterday I had my pre-surgery consultation with Canberra Bariatric’s resident Dietician, Jason Levett. Meeting with the dietician is part of the process for the operation and is (from what I can tell) mandatory – they’re trying to gage your eating habits and inform you about eating after the surgery.

Jason and I sat in this little office and discussed my current living situation, my job and my eating habits. I told him the truth – you’d be surprised how many times I lie to dieticians, some form of denial perhaps? I told him that I have absolutely no routine, that I was a spontaneous and unorganised eater – I always forgot to bring food for work and then ended up buying my lunch. I live at home with my Mother and I don’t like the environment, so I go out to dinner all the time to get out of the house. Also, let’s face it, if you read this blog you know I am a foodie – I love food, I dream about food, I covet food.

I mentioned to Jason that I was moving out of home at the end of June, in to a share house with my brother and some of his lovely friends, that I’d bought a Thermomix and had started seeing my future after surgery as a completely different life. Every time I eat something bad now, I keep saying “I won’t be able to eat this ever again” – and I think I won’t. Jason reminded me that I can still eat food, just in smaller quantities, but I really want to use this surgery as day-dot on my new life. I’m optimistic and motivated for the first time in my life.

Jason was happy with my commitment to the surgery and agreed that I probably couldn’t lose the weight in a non-surgical way, so he didn’t press that side of things.

Jason then ran me through some tips about eating before and after the surgery, most of which he had talked about at the Information Night:

2 weeks before: Optifast. Apparently the two week Optifast diet is to put your body in to a type of ketosis which results in weight loss, and shrinkage of the liver. The liver is actually raised up out of the way during the surgery, so it is imperative that there is less fat around it for a clear path to the stomach.

2 weeks after: For the first two weeks, the stomach is still healing so it is best to consume liquids that will pass through the stomach quickly and without any blockage. I think during this stage I will be drinking protein shakes, broth and lots of water (at least 2 litres a day, sipped slowly). Apparently I can also expect some constipation, so a good dose of Benefibre in the protein shake will help with that.

2-6 weeks after: This is the puree stage – lots of soups and soft food pureed. I reckon this is where I’ll use my thermomix the most. You can have oats for breakfast, but they have to be cooked and then pureed. There seems to be a few recipes on the internet for this stage, and Jason showed me a book – nfwls.com – that walks you through the stages, but I’ve decided to keep a list of my foods during this stage to try and give people better ideas.

6-8 weeks after: This time is used to transition from pureed through to solids, using soft foods as a bridge.

8+ weeks after: By now I should be back on to regular food, only in small amounts (1/2 to ¾ a cup). However there are some food I won’t be able to eat for a very long time, and when I am finally able to stomach them, it’ll be in small amounts – bread, steak, pasta, stringy foods (all of this will get clogged in your stomach and give you pain).

Jason gave me some tips on getting nutrients – pregnancy vitamins contain more protein and iron than ones like Centrum, which I currently take. Protein shakes are a must, making sure you get all your nutrients through various food types etc.

And that was it. A lot of what he told me I’d already read or spoken to former patients about, so not much was new to me – but now I feel prepared and ready to go. It’s two weeks until I go on Optifast and then it’s two weeks after that until the surgery. It’s getting close!

Stats:

My current weight is 120.3kg (hey, I haven’t put on any weight despite eating like a monster for the last month – score!)

My current dress size is 24

BMI: 46

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