Thursday, August 25, 2016

Carbs: The Scariest Food Group

This will likely come as no shock to anyone who has had WLS (weight loss surgery), but for the rest of you I'll let you in on a secret - - carbs are not our friend. Or at least over-doing it on carbs is frowned upon for those of us living with a hammock. And I'm not talking about natural carbs, like fruit. I'm talking about the delicious, life-giving carbs...pasta, bread, rice, etc. I've had a number of friends do low carb diets over the years - Atkins, South Beach, etc. I have always said I'd rather do a all-carb diet than try to live like that. On more than one occasion I've said I don't want to live in a world without carbs.

That being said - I am now able to have carbs. I was advised to keep under control, but they were no longer "forbidden" as they had been for the first 3 months after surgery. Here is another point where "fat brain" rears it's ugly head - because let's be pre-surgery body was built on carbs. Many, many, many carbs. So much bread. SOOOOOO much bread. Preferably with butter, garlic and cheese on it. Or with a ridiculously topped burger between it. Pasta? Love. Rice? Give it to me. Although it offered next to no nutritional value, bread was life for me.

So permission to enter back into that world gave me pause. My nurse told me "you'll never be able to eat bread like you used to" (bless you, hammock) which was somewhat comforting - but I also know I can allow myself to work around my current limitations if I want to. Yes - I can only eat so much at a time...but I could still allow myself to eat frequently. That is one of the things my friend M, who had this surgery a few years ago said...he's sometimes finds he's eating when he's "not full" rather than when he's hungry.

I've avoided carbs for the most part, because I don't trust myself. It seems easier to just stay away, than find out the hard way that their siren call is more than I can resist. It's really starting to annoy me though. I need to get carbs coursing through my veins to be able to have the energy to do the things I want to do. So I'm trying to gear myself up to work a some into my diet here and there - sweet potatoes, a bit of rice, a tortilla here and there. But I will likely never again buy a loaf of bread. My nurse told me she can't keep nuts in her house - she doesn't trust herself. For me, it's bread. I was wondering if anyone sells bread by the slice? Something to ask Panera the next time I'm in the neighborhood.....

I have told you all of this, to finally get to my point. I was meeting my fellow VSG/WLS friend M for dinner. I told him to choose the place based on any cravings he might be having. What does he pick? Pasta. The same place we went for his "last meal" before he started his liquid diet before his surgery. The second I read the text I was filled with panic. SHIT!!!! Pasta. And this place also serves this really delicious, warm, salty/peppery bread w/ seasoned olive oil before the meal. SHIT. SHIT. SHIT!!!!!! I tried to calm myself by reminding myself of what my nurse had said - - 80/20. Eat on plan 80% of the time. Allow yourself to live a little 20% of the time. I could do this....

Left = before, Right = after
I looked at the menu in advance. I picked out 2 dishes that seemed like they'd be ok - both had chicken. I abstained when the initially brought the bread to the table. I didn't want to hog hammock space, and was slightly concerned I wouldn't stop if I started. I ordered the special - cheese tortellini with spinach and red pepper with chicken. When it arrived I tried to make sure to get a bunch of the chicken down. I enjoyed the cheese in the tortellini because....cheese! It was delicious. I ate slowly so I'd be sure to recognize when I was full. I stopped well before the miserable stage. I even had the salt/pepper top of one of the pieces of bread when I was done. And I had a ton of leftovers.

Now this is a double-edged sword. I love that I can get 2-3 meals out of a standard meal in a restaurant. But I realized I have typically picked things that are still within my plan - so having the leftovers isn't an issue. Like the night we went for pizza - I sent the rest home with my sister, because I would have eaten pizza for ever meal until it was gone - and that is no bueno. But this time I now have 2 more servings of pasta at my house. (I didn't take home any bread) It will test my will, but I am actually feeling very confident that I'll be fine. I'll split them up so I'm not having pasta every day. I'll be more diligent about my other meals to make sure I'm keeping them a little more lean than I normally pay attention to. This was a huge hurdle for me, and I'm feeling confident that I can be responsible...even with the temptation of the dreaded carbs.

Do you have anything that you just can't allow yourself to keep in your house because you just don't trust yourself?

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