The liquid diet was pretty tough, so I was glad when I was able to come on to pureed foods – so much more range of foods, and I was hoping my energy levels would pick up too, and they did!
As my body healed further, and as I was eating higher calorie foods, I had more energy to start to incorporate walking into my routine.
It was about week 3 or 4 that my family and friends were also commenting on visible weight loss, and I was noticing that my clothes were getting looser on me. I had been tracking my weight since week 2, and have a chart you can follow here.
Overall, in this phase, I feel more like myself again, but a better, more renewed me :). I felt really positive about my health, energy and healing now – happy me!
Pureed Diet (Soft foods)
Given the major investment in the gastric sleeve surgery, in terms of time, money, and pain, I was determined for this to be the catalyst I needed to really improve the quality of my diet. My medical team has advised me to steer clear of refined carbs, refined sugars and processed foods as far as possible. So I was focussing on whole foods with high protein content, or were nutrient dense.
Here are the sorts of foods I was eating including how much of a portion I could manage (I was eating 5 portions a day):
- Greek Yoghurt (1 tablespoon, usually with a drizzle of honey)
- Protein shake (250 mls)
- Mashed banana (half a banana)
- Mashed avocado (half an avocado on it’s own, or a quarter if eaten with some cheese)
- Tuna Mayo (1 tablespoon)
- Mashed potato, carrot, or sweet potato (half a small potato, or half a large carrot, with a tablespoon of baked beans pr mushy peas)
- Scrambled egg (one egg)
- Homemade hummus (one tablespoon)
- Baby food fruit pouches (one 100g pouch)
- Freshly squeezed fruit juice (250 mls)
- Tinned fruit in fruit juice not syrup (usually 1 teaspoon as I found it too sweet!)
- No added sugar Jelly (half a small pot)
- Sliced buffalo mozzarella (2 slices from a standard ball)
- Mascarpone cheese (1 teaspoon, usually with the tinned fruit)
- Homemade egg mayo with parsley and salad cress (1 tablespoon)
- Aloe Vera Juice (250 mls)
- Smooth nut butter (1 teaspoon, usually with mashed banana)
- Baba Ghanoush / Moutabel (1 tablespoon)
- Lentil Daal (1 tablespoon)
- Mushy peas / baked beans
I didn’t realise how small my food portions would be, and in general, I couldn’t eat more than 1-2 tablespoons of food at a time, and even that would take me around 20-30 mins to eat comfortably.
It’s really important after gastric sleeve surgery to not drink 30 minutes before or after eating, as it can put pressure on the new smaller stomach, and could flush food away too fast leading to diarrhoea and loss of nutrients. This is a permanent requirement if you don’t want to stretch out your stomach. I found this hard at first – it was like having to obsess all day about drink and food times, but after a few days, you really do get into a habit, and aren’t clock watching as much anymore 🙂
Given the small portions I was now having, I invested in some airtight Kilner Jars with a wide neck, and 500 ml capacity. They were a god send for whipping up batches of hummus, or eggs mayo, or tuna mayo, and storing in the fridge to avoid wastage. They were great for storing freshly squeezed fruit juice too. I’ll be sharing some of my recipes and typical meal plans soon too!
I was starting to feel less fuzzy, and more alert. I was pain free, and I was enjoying a wider variety of tastes again. It’s an odd feeling not feeling hungry, and then when eating, getting full up so quickly.
Food logging / Calorie tracking
I got a FitBit tracker to log my food so I could track whether I was getting enough calories or not. I was advised to aim between 700 and 900 calories per day. In weeks 2-3, I was only managing 400 calories a day, and this made me very tired. Food logging on Fitbit is really easy, and it works out how much protein, carbs, and fat your daily intake is made up of.
It’s worth making the effort around food logging in the beginning to really get you to think about your food intake, your energy levels, and meal planning to ensure you get the best nutrients per calories.
As well as food logging, the Fitbit is really geared towards activity tracking. In the first 3 weeks post operation, my daily step count was less than 500 steps. I needed to build up my stamina to my usual routine of 12K steps a day.
My week by week targets in this stage were:
- Week 4 = 1K steps
- Week 5 = 2K steps
- Week 6 = 3K steps (i.e. school run).
I’m in week 7 right now, and I’m managing just over 5K steps per day. I was expecting I’d be back at work by now, but my surgeon says my recovery is slightly behind, and I should take a few more weeks off.
Now the goal is to get my energy to a level that it can sustain my required activity and getting back to work…
I’m listening to my body better, my headaches are gone, and I’m more sensitive to the taste of food, so it’s feeling really gratifying. I’m excited about further improvements yet to come in my health and energy 🙂