1. When can you start taking normal-sized pills again, or do you have to cut them up forever?
Answer: 60 days post op
2. If you watch the calories, are sugar-free products okay?
Answer: In weight loss, calories do make the biggest difference, meaning that if by the end of the day you have eaten fewer calories than your body needs to maintain your current weight, you will lose weight. With that being said, it is always important to read your food labels. Just because a product claims it is sugar free, low fat, or has no added sugar does not mean that it will be low calorie. So going back to your question, the answer is, Yes, if you watch the calories, sugar free products are ok.
3. Is polenta considered to be a starch we should stay away from?
Answer: Yes polenta is considered a starch because it is made from cornmeal. Therefore, the same starch requirements apply here. For the first 6 months after your surgery stay away from all starches and after that you can introduce it back into your diet as long as you limit the portions.
4. I always make sure to get at least 70 grams of protein, and often I get over 90 grams, but I'm still hungry a lot between meals - but not every day. Can you give me some suggestions on how to handle that?
(Make sure you are staying hydrated as well. Sometimes you may be feeling hungry when in fact you are just thirsty. If you drink first and still seem hungry after 10-15 minutes then have something to eat.) Answer= (5 and 6)
5. It has been a year since my surgery and my hunger has increased and it seems that I can eat more before feeling full. What should I do?
Answer: Make sure you are eating 3 high protein meals/day. It is normal for your meal size to increase slightly over the first year (from ½ cup to 1 cup total). Don't test your limits- you may not get the same negative reinforcement of nausea/vomiting as you may have initially if you overate. When you are hungry make sure you stop and eat. Don't panic- it is normal to have the feeling of hunger return. Higher protein and fiber foods will keep you fuller longer. Try not to graze on snacks throughout the day.
6. What types of foods will keep me fuller longer?
Answer: Higher protein foods: meat, poultry, beans, dairy products, eggs, nuts, soy, fish, seafood, and protein supplements will keep you fuller longer. Typically, solid foods will be more filling than liquids/soft foods. Example: protein shake vs bar. Suggestion: track your food intake for a week where you write down everything you are eating and take note of hunger/fullness levels as an indication of which foods are more filling for you. Try to stick with these more often.
7. What should I do if I cannot tolerate some solid protein sources after surgery?
Answer: Try the foods again. Just because you cannot tolerate it the first time does not mean that you will never be able to eat the foods again. Try different cooking methods. The food will need to be moist to be digested properly. Ex: chicken= chicken salad, baked in tinfoil pouch, crock pot, in a low calorie sauce, etc. NOTE: If you are constantly feeling sick, please call our office and/or schedule an appointment with the surgeon so they can evaluate if there is any medical reason why you are experiencing this.
8. I am getting tired of water; what else can I drink?
Answer: You can add any low calorie flavoring to your drinks such as crystal light, mio, ocean spray packets, sf koolaid, the Slenderize Fuze drink; True Lemon drink, etc. Make sure your drinks are low calorie (5 grams of sugar per serving). If you are drinking your calories you can sabotage any of the surgeries since you will not feel full from these liquids and the extra calories will add to your intake for the day and cause weight gain.
9. How many calories a day should I be eating?
Answer: It varies for each person, but the biggest gift the surgery gives you is being able to tune in with your hunger/fullness levels and this should drive your portion sizes/eating. You can use the guideline of ½ cup per meal for the first 6 months and then 1 cup total a year and later post op. You can compare calorie levels of different items when you are shopping and pick the lower calorie option. For example: bread.
10. What should I do if I am craving starches or sweets?
Answer: It is ok to allow yourself a little bit of the craving- you do not want to deprive yourself. You want to avoid the "all or nothing" mentality. If you know that a small taste will not lead to splurging, allow yourself a treat every now and then. However, if you will be indulging that craving regularly then you may be better off distracting yourself with a non-food alternative such as music, a walk, a relaxing bath, massage, meditation, etc.