Gastric Banding: Mushy Foods Phase

by Christine on June 16th, 2011

filed under Diet, Food, Nutrition, Gastric Banding Surgery

Here is a list of foods that you can consider eating during the mushy foods phase, following your gastric banding surgery. Keep two things in mind here:

(1) One of the main reasons why you are on “mushy foods” is because the band is placed very loosely around your stomach. That means that if you rush into solid foods and you get into a barfing fit, the heaving of your stomach may cause the band to slip. Furthermore, your stomach is still swollen from surgery so we want to make sure you don’t stuff yourself with big, chunky food and further cause the band to slip out of place.

(2) The band affects everyone differently. Different foods affect different patients differently. For instance, ice-cold drinks, while indeed “mushy” are apt to leave my stomach constricted, so I have a tendency to barf when I drink too much ice-cold milk or milkshakes. Others would have no problem with that. So just go easy on yourself.

Okay! With that said, here are a few ideas:

  • Soup! My favorite! Any soup without chunks should be fine. I swear I lived on Paneras Tomato Soup for months following surgery. Egg drop soup, broth,
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Tunafish (mixed either with mayo or spicy brown mustard)
  • Pureed beans
  • Applesauce
  • Mashed bananas
  • Hummus
  • Guacamole (no chunks!)
  • Very soft cheese, like Brie
  • Ricotta cheese with pasta sauce on it
  • Protein shakes
  • Yogurt
  • Jello
  • Pudding
  • Ground beef or turkey in VERY SMALL chunks
  • Tofu
  • Puree some Italian meatballs and add pasta sauce to it

Foods to avoid during this stage:

  • Potatoes (even mashed potatoes, until you learn if you can eat it safely)
  • Bread
  • Rice and rice-like products (like polenta, etc)
  • Carbonated beverages (it distends your stomach)
  • Oatmeal (unless you make it reaaaaaaaly watery)
  • Pineapples
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus foods (the acid may hurt & the membrane may get stuck)
  • Tough meats (steak, pork, etc)

Other items of note:

  • If you haven’t already purchased Gummy Vitamins at your local store, do so now! You need a multi-vitamin since your food choices are so limited, and DO NOT attempt to swallow a bit horse-pill ever again.  Gummy Vitamins will be your new best friend!

If you have other suggestions for recipes or mushy foods that work, add them in the comments below! I will link to this post from my Gastric Banding info resource (link at the top of the page).


How balanced should you be?

by Christine on June 14th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

So here’s what I’m thinking this morning, and maybe it’s my overly-obsessive, calorie-counting mind that is over-thinking things a little bit.

In an ideal world, we wouldn’t eat crap food or overindulge. I understand that optimal, healthy food choices and reasonable portion sizes are the ideal thing to strive for. But let’s face it, even the strongest-willed person can cave every now and then; 100% saintly eating just isn’t reasonable.

Well, on Sunday night we had friends come over to the house. I am always really excited to have guests because it means I can cook foods that I normally don’t (because hubby doesn’t eat it). I made bratwurst (what a treat!), hamburgers, fresh salad, homemade salad dressing, and pasta salad. Our friends brought over chocolate cake and rice krispy treats.   I had 1 bratwurst–no bun of course–and some fresh salad.  Until evening. Then I dove into that chocolate cake, pretty much head-first, like a baby attacking his first birthday cake. It’s weird because I normally don’t even like chocolate cake. But it was there, and I was PMSing, and I did some damage.

Let me tell you, it didn’t feel good. I felt sick to my stomach from the sugar. The taste wasn’t even all that great. And afterwards I started playing head games with myself:

How do I fix this mishap?

There’s three ways to go about this. First, there’s the balanced reaction. In order to balance a huge caloric mishap, shouldn’t you need to go to extreme measures in cutting your calories the next day or two in order to make up for the indulgence?  I mean, really restrict your calories until you’ve reset yourself to “ground zero?”  If your cake indulgence was, say 1400 calories, then cut 467 calories out of your diet for the next three days.  For me, since my Calorie Setpoint is somewhere around 800 calories, that would leave me 333 calories per day, for three days, to consume. That’s way extreme. But it IS balanced.

The next reaction is similar to the first: Burn those extra calories at the gym. In the end, the goal is the same as the first reaction: you’re balancing your calories. Except with this method you’re choosing to burn it with exercise instead of through food and diet.  If I exert myself with high-intensity interval training (read about that here), I can burn 700 calories per gym outing for two days to burn those extra cake-calories off.

But then there’s the third reaction: just go back to your normal eating. Eat nice balanced meals, at your Optimal Calorie Threshold, and basically just pretend that the OOPS never happened.

Which method do you take to counter-act your Oops? What is the correct answer?

I can tell you that, as an Eating Disordered person, I gravitate to the first method. I know I can control my food intake, and I can starve for as long as I need to in order to reset my calorie bank to equilibrium (read that story here).  It is drastic, and on the positive side it can balance you out in a day or two. On the other hand, this method theoretically screws up your metabolism.

I then gravitate to the second option.  Exercise. Punnish yourself. Beat yourself up. Sweat until you hurt and want to scream and teach yourself that having a weak will and eating that cake just isn’t worth the pain and suffering at the gym.  Yeah, it’s sadistic but haven’t we all done this, many times, in the past?  The benefit is that exercise is great for you, it boosts your metabolism. The downfall is that it can take longer to reset your calorie bank to zero (especially if you’re only burning 200-300 calories at a single gym outing) and you can really beat yourself up mentally with this method. At least, I know I can. I’m actually more likely to indulge in that cake when I’m done with the gym because, after 2 hours of telling myself how weak-willed, stupid, ugly, fat, and horrible I am, I need to console my bleeding heart with more chocolate cake.  It’s a viscious cycle, at least for me.

But then there’s the last method: Move forwards as normal and pretend the slip-up never happened. The benefit is that your mental health doesn’t take a beating, there’s no need for punishment.  The downside is that it may take a very long time for those chocolate cake calories to be reset, and you may not have the chance to learn from past mistakes.

All my life, I’ve been a drastic-action-taker. I have starved and exercised myself into exhaustion after dumb eating choices, and it just made me fatter and fatter and fatter.  One of the things that changed with the lap band surgery is that I stopped punnishing myself for indulging every now and then and I took the last method: I just move forwards, doing whatever I was doing normally, and pretended that the mishaps never happened.

And I lost weight.

It’s still hard for me, this big mental change of pace. After eating that cake on Sunday, I still wanted to starve myself silly the next day. Instead, I am carefully choosing a normal, healthy choice of meals in order to move forwards. Yesterday, in my “punishment day” I ate a perfectly normal amount of calories for me, and chose healthy options all day. Today will be the same.  But I’m on watch for myself, to make sure I don’t start slipping into extreme reactions.

My brain doesn’t believe that this will work, but the last 2 years (losing 100+ pounds, reaching my goal weight) tells me that it will. Hmmm.


Summertime Foodstuffs

by Christine on June 6th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition


This weekend we bought a new gas grill, and I am so excited about it! Our last grill busted up due to improper maintenance (aka: we left it outside and all the important parts rusted out). This grill is smaller and cheaper, but yowza, I kind of prefer it! It heats up faster and is perfect for grilling for 2-4 people.

The purchase of this new gas grill is going to help me a LOT with my diet. For starters, I’ll be eating at home a lot more now instead of going out to eat. Considering I eat maybe 80% of my meals outside of home, any amount of eating at home is really an improvement.

With my lapband, I eat a lot of meats. Granted, I don’t eat a lot of meat (2-3 ounces works just fine) but meat is still the staple of my meals. Grilling out is healthy and delicious!

We also went to the grocery store this weekend, which was a Big Deal. We average going to the grocery store once every month, can you believe that? That’s mostly because, again, we eat most of our meals out, but hopefully that will change now.

Also, I have a boatload of veggies growing in my garden. In just a few weeks I’ll have more food than I could possibly hope to eat. It’s going to be a wonderful, healthy summertime eating fiesta at my house!

Weight Update

This morning I weighed in at 128.0, so the weight is slowing coming back down after a temporary increase. I hope to keep this momentum up, just a wee bit. It makes me feel a lot better to be within my maintenance range though.

Weekend Update

I live in Upstate New York, and you know, we don’t get very many perfect days. I’m talking mid-80 degrees, low humidity, lots of sunshine. I call them “San Diego days.”  Well, Saturday and Sunday were Perfect Days, so what did I do? I spent my Saturday at work, indoors! BOOHOO!  Oddly enough I wasn’t too upset about this though, and I realized it is because I love my new job. I’m happy here, and so it isn’t too bothersome to spend my weekend catching up on work that needed to get done.

The rest of the weekend was spent doing household chores, cleaning, maintenace, landscaping, etc. I planted more veggies and weeded some gardens. We fixed the outdoor hose/spigot. We put together our new grill. I cleaned the garage. We did errands. I paid bills & sorted the paperwork on the counter. I went through the mountains of tupperware and threw out anything that didn’t have an associated lid (or threw out lids without an associated container). We watched a few movies, played a few games, read a book. I went for a bicycle ride, hauled bags of dirt around. That’s a lot of stuff considering I worked for 6 hours on Saturday!

Today is another Perfect Day, except it is a little humid. For my lunch break I went rollerblading. It was awesome.

Here’s a new post from Emily!


A case of the headcase.

by Christine on May 17th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

Today I was browsing through some three-year-old journal posts (for those of you that don’t know, I have an online forum here if you’re interested in joining) and came across this lovely “before” picture. This is about three years old now.

Look at that sad little fatty face of mine! And I remember that pink shirt, too. I liked it so much. It was a 1XL and it was tight on me. I also remember when I could finally throw that one in the “too big” bin.  Here’s another picture, more recent, this time wearing a Size 2 dress. What a difference with my chin! Oh, that laser eye surgery sure made a difference, too.

A case of the headcase

One thing that struck me as I was re-reading my old posts is that…well, I frequently suffer from a case of being a headcase. I have a tendency to over-exaggerate problems, create problems based on getting stressed out and worse-case-scenario-fearing, which just leads to more stress and fear, which leads to more stress and fear…

It’s a really rotten cycle. And I have no doubt that it has an impact on my weight, relationship with food, not to mention my mental health.

I’ve been in a real headcase cycle lately, and it is well past time to snap out of that. Instead of fearing the worst, I’m going to celebrate all the good things in life that exist CURRENTLY. Instead of exaggerating problems I’ll think of solutions. Instead of lamenting past problems, I will look to a bright and happy future. Starting now.

Do you ever work yourself into a headcase tizzy? How do you get yourself out of it?

How my eating has changed!

A review of my old posts were interesting from a food point of view now, too. Before, three years ago, when I was gaining weight at a rate of 5-10 pounds per week, I would:

  • Starve or have limited calories (500, say) one day, and have a lot of calories (2200, say) the next, for a wildly inconsistent eating pattern.
  • Drink a lot of alcohol. Every day, and perhaps 3-6 drinks a day.
  • Ate more carbs than I do now, which is quite a bit I suppose.
  • Ate a lot of healthy, full-of-vegetable meals.
  • I drank diet soda like it was water.

These days my eating could use improvement in terms of adding more healthy vegetables into my choices, but overall my new eating differs from my old eating because:

  • I eat a consistent amount of calories, every day, usually 800-1000 calories per day.
  • I still enjoy alcohol, but I drink a lot less apparently. Instead of 3-6 drinks every day, I might have 1-2 drinks, maybe 2 times a week. A drink a lot more beer now, too, as opposed to martinis.
  • I eat a lot fewer carbs because of my gastric band. I eat a lot more high-fat foods like fish, almonds, avocados, and even a limited amount of chocolate. However, I seriously limit my portion sizes with these high-fat foods.
  • I drink water like water, and drink diet soda as a special treat, maybe once per week.

I just thought the differences were interesting.

If Current Christine could meet Past Christine and share these differences with her….would it have helped Past Christine lose weight?  Could I have prevented the need for gastric banding surgery?

Honestly, I don’t know that I would want to change me. I’m so glad I had the surgery, and I’m so pleased for all it has done for me. I wouldn’t want to take that away from me, no matter what. Aside from marrying my husband and moving far, far away from home, getting the gastric band is one of the best things I ever did for myself.

What are the three best things you have ever done for yourself? If you could go back in time knowing what you know now, what would you tell your past self? Would you want to share your secrets with your past self and change the future?


Why I do this here (W.I.D.T.H.)

by Christine on September 15th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

The amazing and clever Jack Sh*t coined the “Why I do this here” program a few months ago. This is my take on it, but you should read his — the responses are insightful and wonderful!

Or, perhaps more importantly, what are you going to do today to ensure that you lose weight?

Today I started by pre-planning all of my meals to ensure that I don’t eat too much. My plan for today is:

8 a.m.: almonds (60 calories), red bull (220)
10 a.m.: Half a Cucumber (12) with 2 tbs low-fat ranch dressing (66)
Noon: 1 salad (30) with tuna fish (70) and LF ranch dressing (66); some leftover minestrone soup (50)
2 p.m.: 1 applesauce cup (50)
6 p.m.: 2 oz grilled chicken (100) with some spinach (7) and cannolli beans (60) and EVOO (60)
Total calories: 851, right on target

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