On Post-Op Weight Loss

When I was going to have my surgery, I know that I was going to be sedentary for six weeks. I also knew that when I didn’t feel well, I tend to eat yummy things like sausage, bread, cakes, cookies, etc. which would cause me to gain weight.

About Me and My Fitness Level

I’m what’s known as “skinny fat”. I’ve never been athletic, but I appear thin so I’ve never felt like I needed to exercise that much. I didn’t realize how out of shape I was until I’d start huffing and puffing while simply walking up a short flight of stairs.  People would always say “you’re in good shape – you’re thin!”, but I knew better.  So in May 2015, I started seeing a personal trainer at 24-hours fitness.

From 2015-2016, I focused on improving my personal fitness. Let me tell you something…when I started, I couldn’t even do a girl pushup or do 10 jumping jacks without huffing and puffing after. Now, I’m a lot better!  I’m still a fitness level 3 out of 10, but I know that I’m getting better and am improving.

Then, in 2016, my trainer *knew* I was working hard at my exercises, but I wasn’t losing any weight or inches. Note: Don’t put so much pressure on weight…you gain weight when you add muscle since muscles weight more than fat.  Gauge your “weight loss” on how your clothes fit.  I noticed that my stomach was a little flatter, but my belly was still big – partly because my uterus was covered in fibroids and partly because I wasn’t really paying attention to portion sizes and nutrition.

Time for a Nutrition Plan

When I knew that I was going to have surgery in November 2016, I sucked it up and asked my trainer to develop a nutrition plan for me so that I wouldn’t gain weight while I was resting up post-op.  I started in November and it pretty much consisted of the following:

  • Breakfast: 4 egg whites + 1 cup plain oatmeal (note: 1 cup oatmeal = 1 shot glass full)
  • Mid-morning snack: apples + 1 tbsp almond butter
  • Lunch: 4oz chicken + 1/4 cup barley + 1 cup veggies
  • Afternoon snack #1: 1/8 cup sweet potato
  • Afternoon snack #2: berries + plain Greek yogurt
  • Dinner: 4-5oz fish + 1 cup veggies

You can see that it’s heavy on the protein and I don’t have much carbs in the evening.  I learned that it best to eat things that digest quickly later on in the day because when we sleep, our metabolism slows down.

  • Beef takes 6-8 hours to digest (bad to eat for dinner!)
  • Chicken takes 4-5 hours to digest (okay to eat for dinner)
  • Fish takes 3-4 hours to digest (good to eat for dinner)
  • Eggs takes 2-3 hours to digest (good for dinner)

I stuck with it as best as I could, but of course, I snuck in a snack that wasn’t on my nutrition plan here and there (*sshhhh!*) like a dark chocolate square (just 1!) or a handful of almonds or goldfish.

They key to eating was to make sure that I chewed each bite thoroughly. The more that I chewed and broke up the meat, the easier it is for my stomach to digest.  That’s why my trainer said to not eat while reading, watching tv, looking at the computer, etc.  When I did that, I noticed that I was swallowing huge lumps of food!  Think of it this way…a packet of sugar dissolves faster than a cube of sugar; that’s the same idea behind chewing your food enough so that your body will digest the food a lot faster!

Seeing the Results

My first step pre-operation was to focus on eating fish in the evening.  Since I saw myself everyday, I didn’t really notice much changes. I mean, I noticed my pants wouldn’t feel so tight, etc.  It wasn’t until a couple of my co-workers asked me “Are you losing weight? You look a lot smaller” when I really started to see how my shirts were sort of looking kind of baggy on me.  That made me feel really good…and it also motivated me to keep it up!

During my surgery, I tried to stick with the nutrition plan.  Since the 1st two weeks post-op were the toughest, I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted for those two weeks ONLY.  By the 3rd week, I decided to go back on the nutrition plan.

Here I am, 4 months post-op and I’m lingering at around 158 pounds.  Mid-2016, I was at 168 pounds (!) because I was eating beef A LOT (now I eat it once a week at most) which made me thick.  When I started eating fish for dinner around November 2016, I went down to 163 pounds and was that weight the day of my surgery; I was curious to see how much weight I’d gain during my recovery.

Things that Helped My Weight Loss

These are things that helped me keep my nutrition and fitness journey on track.

Feel free to shop around for a cheaper price. I just quickly linked items here from Amazon.

Omron Fat Loss Monitor (link)

This helped me monitor my body fat + my BMI. I use it once a week to make sure that I’m still on-par.

Before my surgery in December 2016, I was at around 32% body fat.  Today, I’m at about 29%.  My goal is to get down to 25%

 

P90X Videos (link)

This workout is very hard, but  I normally follow the person working on the bands and focus on what muscle group I’m working on.  It’s a great way to keep my heart rate up even while lifting weights.  When I workout on my own, I tend to take breaks in between sets that are too long.

If you can’t afford a gym membership or a personal trainer, this is the next best thing to all of that as long as you keep up with their meal plan.

 

Misfit Flash (link)

This is an inexpensive walking tracker ($15). You’ll need to purchase a new band because the one it comes with is pretty terrible.  I got this one from iGuerburn.  Just make sure that the tracker is snugly fit inside the wristband. I’ve lost mine only once and the replacement is so inexpensive compared to other more trendy trackers.

 

Food Scale (link)

This is really good for measuring your portions so that you know how many ounces your chicken and fish are.

Eventually, you’ll know the proper portion size as you measure more often.

Vega One Coconut Almond Protein Powder (link)

This tastes really good with your morning oatmeal.  Reminder…use only the plain oatmeal – not the flavored kind that comes in a packet. That has WAY too much sugar! If you add this protein powder, it actually tastes really good with milk.  Plus, add a tablespoon of chia seeds to your oatmeal…that helps you poop!

Final Thoughts

I still eat out around once a week, but I mind my portions like crazy and I also try to make sure that I try to make all of my snacks and meals on all of the other days. I’ll share some of my homemade snacks with you as I find them. It really makes a big difference!

Lastly, if you happen to fall off the wagon…that’s ok! Just get back on it.  Keep in mind that it takes around a week to get back to where you started if you happen to eat whatever you want for 1-3 days…that’s not fun, but we all have those moments.  Don’t beat yourself up about it!

I’m still “fluffy” but I feel good about how I have my nutrition under control now.  Plus…not having to worry about my period ever coming back lets me workout every day without having to worry about cramps, excessive bleeding, etc.  It can only go up from here! 🙂

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