I’ve Become A Picky Eater

One of the reasons I have been obese most of my life is because, well, I love food. Who doesn’t? I’ve always had a pretty exotic palate and have loved trying new things. Before surgery, even when I didn’t like something, I’d usually eat it. Now…I (inconspicuously) spit things out.

I still like to eat, but it’s not as satisfying as it was. When I was in North Carolina last week for Type A Parent Conference, I realized how picky I was compared to other people.

Take these enchiladas – I ordered them because shredded beef in sauce is usually pretty tolerated in my pouch. But I didn’t eat the pico de gallo on top (can’t eat uncooked onions, tomatoes weren’t ripe enough), ate the guacamole, fished some beef out of the enchiladas, but left the tortillas. I poked around my plate a lot. I maybe ate 20% of the food I was served, and didn’t bring any leftovers with me, for two reasons 1) No fridge in my hotel, 2) Leftovers almost always make me sick (especially leftover meat.)

Some restaurants are easier to order at than others. I went to Cheesecake Factory about a month ago, and only found 2 items in their expansive 26-page menu that I could tolerate. And again, I picked around my plate and barely made a dent in the gigantic portion. My go-to restaurant items are soup or maybe a side of meat. I watch other people eat with mixed feelings – some jealousy that they can eat things I can’t eat anymore, but it reminds me of the portions I used to consume. I also get a lot of apologies  – “Sorry I’m eating something you can’t eat” or “Will this make you sad if I eat this in front of you?”

Eating at home is hard too. I feel like I have to put so much thought into my food choices, and can’t just make decisions on the spot. My husband and I often have this conversation in the morning when he wants to get me something for breakfast.

  • Do you want me to make you a smoothie?
  • No.
  • How about some yogurt?
  • Meh, no.
  • Do you want eggs?
  • Ugh no. I’m not in the mood to vomit.
  • Geez, you’ve gotten so hard to make breakfast for.

We also are now sharing a fridge with my family (since we moved into my parents basement) and there’s not as much space for our food selections. Or things get accidentally eaten. Also, instead of being 3 blocks from the grocery store, we’re about 5 miles. It sometimes feels easier to just not eat than go shopping.

My meals are supposed to be be 70% protein, 30% vegetables. But I don’t always get the ratio right every meal. My lunch the other day was a few slices of Mocetta beef, a couple of pistachios, a couple of carrot chips, and some watermelon.  It’s been so nice to add some fresh veggies and fruit back into my diet, but they don’t always stay down. I’ve been craving salads, but my attempts at fresh romaine lettuce and baby spinach have been quite uncomfortable.

Despite the small portions, my weight loss hasn’t been exceptionally impressive. I spent a few weeks hovering between 298 and 301, and I was getting frustrated. Yesterday I was at 295, and I hope to leave the 290s behind very soon. Still, it’s hard to be upset about losing 78 pounds in less than 5 months.

Roadtrip To Portland – Part 1

Ever since my dilation procedure, I’ve been feeling great.  I decided I was in good enough shape to go on an overnight trip to Portland with a friend. He moved from Salt Lake City to Seattle, and needed a travel companion to keep him safe on the road. Originally my husband was going to go, but he ended up being scheduled on a trip of his own. It would consist of a drive to Portland and a flight back to SLC, all taking  a day and a half.

Because the vehicle would be jammed packed with his stuff, I didn’t have a lot of room to bring what I needed to travel with. I packed a small carryon suitcase, but he said it wouldn’t fit. I told him the only way I could pack lighter was to not bring my CPAP machine, and he said he could handle my snoring. I did pack a back of snacks…an insulated back with some Simply Gogurt, Laughing Cow cheese, shaved parmesean curls, grapes, and some sliced deli turkey.

We left SLC around 3:20 on Saturday with the plan to overnight in Baker City Oregon. After a pit stop in Burley, ID, Chris decided he wanted me to drive. He soon fell asleep, and I got to enjoy rural Idaho through a very gorgeous sunset. We got to our mediocre motel in Baker City around 9:45, having to adjust to Pacific time for a few hours before Daylight Savings hit.

We got back on the road around 7:45 am, and grabbed some breakfast. The motel offered a disappointing continental breakfast, but I couldn’t eat anything there. We went to McDonalds, and I got a sausage burrito. I opened up the tortilla, and ate some egg, cheese, and sausage. Chris was laughing at how little I was able to eat, especially as he downed 4 sausage biscuits. Funny to think that before surgery I could probably have eaten 2 or 3 of those biscuits.

Oregon Trail interpretive center Maybe it was from lack of sleep, or maybe because we were in a silly mood, but this road sign cracked us up. In Mormon culture, CTR stands for “choose the right.” We were joking that choosing the right is up for interpretation, and if you make the wrong choice, you’ll be sent to Hell’s Canyon.

It was an interesting day on the road. We had some light rain for the first hour of the drive, intermixed with partly cloudy sunny skies. When we got past La Grande and into the Blue Mountains, we got hit by a pretty crazy blizzard.

The Blue Mountains are notorious for snowstorms that pick up quickly and dump hard. Roads had not been plowed, and trucks were required to chain up. We slowed down to a crawl and followed the tracks in the snowy slush. There are some pretty steep downgrades, and we slid around a bit, but we made it through the worst of the storm, and it was raining by the time we went down “Cabbage Hill.” We stopped for some lunch outside of Pendleton, and I got a meatball sub at Subway. Of course, what I really only ate was a little sauce, cheese and nibbles of a meatball.

The rest of the drive to Portland was a mix between sunny skies and pouring rain. Driving along the Columbia River Gorge is one of my favorite parts of the drive to Portland. Lots of winding roads, little towns, elevation changes, dams and beautiful views. Right outside of Portland we stopped at the Multnomah Falls viewpoint. When we got into Portland, our first stop was at Voodoo Doughnuts.

To be continued…

Down 29 Pounds – 3 Weeks Post-Op

After a tough day yesterday, I promised myself I wouldn’t overdo it today. I had to wake up at 5 to pick my husband up from the airport, but I was already half awake when my alarm went off. After having Taylor home for 3 weeks, 4 days apart felt like a long time. Seeing him was worth the 5am wake up call.

I went in to work to work on a proposal that was due at 10, had a meeting, and was out of the office by 11:30. I was gone before I was exhausted, which was a nice change. It was hard to turn down urgent projects, but my body is much more important than my work at the moment.

I spent the better part of the afternoon in bed, took a two hour nap, and regained enough energy to leave the house for a few hours. With how many people ask me about my weight loss, it’s been frustrating to not have a scale at home (that goes high enough to track my weight). We did a little shopping, picked up a scale, and visited some friends.

I weighed in this evening, and I’m down another 7 pounds, which puts me at 344.2. This means I’ve lost a total of 29.1 pounds since 1/30/12. Today I also fit into another pair of smaller jeans. After so many years of weight loss failures, it’s exciting to see the progress to quickly!

A friend mentioned to me tonight, “You’re getting numbers like on The Biggest Loser.” Funny that I auditioned for The Biggest Loser, and didn’t get a callback. Although it would have been interesting to be on a TV show, I think that weight loss surgery was a much better long-term decision for me. It’s crazy to me that 3 weeks ago, I was laying in a hospital bed, only allowed to sip one ounce of water per hour.

Food diary:

  • String cheese
  • 2 oz light yogurt
  • 1 TB peanut butter
  • 2 oz chopped grilled chicken with sauce and cheese
  • 2 TB refried beans
  • 2 oz sliced roast beef with au jus  (part of a French dip minus the bread)
  • Jell-o pudding mousse

Laughing Cow Cheese Queso Dip Recipe

laughing cow queso dipLaughing Cow Cheese Queso Dip

  • 4 wedges Laughing Cow Light Queso Fresco and Chipotle Cheese
  • 1 cup of your favorite salsa

Unwrap the cheese wedges and place them in a small bowl. Microwave for about 30 seconds and then stir. Cheese should be warm and melted. Add salsa to the melted cheese and stir.

Serves 4. Each serving has 49 calories, 2g fat, 408mg sodium, 5g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 1g sugar, 3g protein.

Earlier this week I got a fun gift pack from The Laughing Cow.  The box included a wheel of Queso Fresco and Chipotle cheese, some salsa, baked blue corn chips, and the above recipe. Other than the chips, it’s perfect for the post-op food stage I’m in.

I whipped it up for a party I attended last night, and it was very tasty. It was nice to make a recipe to bring to a party so I was guaranteed to have something I was able to eat. I’m glad I did, because the rest of the party was cupcakes, fresh veggies, and potato and tortilla chips, all of which I couldn’t eat. I did take a few nibbles of the blue corn chips as I ate the dip, and was happy to see it didn’t make me sick at all. Bypass-friendly recipes FTW!


2nd Day Back To Work – Post-Op Day 15

Day 2 back to work was actually more exhausting than yesterday. I felt more tired and had a harder time concentrating. I planned to work a half day, but had a mandatory meeting at 1pm, so I stayed longer than I really had energy for. By the time I got home, I was totally tuckered out. A long nap was necessary.

jack daniels bbq chickenToday’s lunch was so yummy. One of my favorite items from Costco is the Jack Daniel’s pulled BBQ chicken in the refrigerated section. It’s nice and tender, and easy to eat post op. I melted some cheese on top, and it was a great meal. For dinner, my husband made chicken curry, which was also delicious. I had a tiny bit of rice with it, and didn’t have any problem tolerating it.

Food Diary:

  • Light yogurt
  • 1 TB peanut butter
  • 1 oz Creminelli Mocetta
  • 2 oz Simply Apple juice
  • Muscle Milk light shake
  • 2 oz pulled chicken and cheese
  • 2 oz chicken curry with rice
  • A few sips of hot chocolate

Pushing Myself on President’s Day

nicole bullock braids

Today is President’s Day, which meant that I postponed my return to work by a day for the Federal holiday. If nobody was going to be in the office, I surely wasn’t going to be. I spent a fair amount of time going through paperwork and crunching numbers though. I’m trying to figure out my flexible spending amounts for reimbursement and for tax purposes. It’s ridiculous how many medical expenses I had last year. Just in prescriptions with $5-15 copays each, I paid $585 out of pocket. I’m hoping with this surgery and my improving health that my medical expenses will drop dramatically.

Taylor and I went and did some shopping today. I wanted to get a new neoprene lunch bag for work that would fit ice packs. While I was out, I also got some cute little square bowls that hold less than 3 ounces…perfect for portioning out my meals. When I’m served food on a big plate, it’s really easy to overeat. And when I overeat, even just a bite or two, it makes me sick.

I also perused through the clothes racks, and found a shirt I really liked that was on sale for $5.99. Now, many people on the weight loss surgery forums tell me not to buy new clothes while I’m dropping weight rapidly, because it ends up being a big waste of money. For $6, I don’t mind shrinking out of it in a few weeks. I grabbed a 2X and a 3X sized shirt and went to try them on. The 3X was too baggy, and the 2X was only a tiny bit tight, so I went for the 2X. It was fun to buy a shirt in a size smaller than usual.

We did a little more shopping, had some lunch, and went back to the house for a while. I went back to working through all those medical receipts…what a hassle. I also had to call my insurance to reprocess a bunch of claims (including my $42K hospital bill). Cigna thinks I have other insurance, and they’re continually denying claims as “deficient” because they want another plan to pay first. It’s been happening over and over for dozens of claims over the last year. I wish Cigna would get their act together.

farberware resin knife set

While I was working though the piles of paperwork, I got a knock at the door. Taylor had ordered me a new set of resin knives as a Valentines Day gift. With all the portioning and food preparation, and nice new set of knives tickled my fancy more than flowers or other gifts. If you haven’t noticed from the knives, bowls, and lunch bag, I love bold and fun colored items. With all the years of weight loss attempts, I’ve worn a lot of black. I hope to get into more bold and fun colored clothes as I lose weight.

In the afternoon, we went back down to Lehi for family movie time. My husband, daughter, dad, and brother went to see Star Wars Episode I in 3D, and my mom and I saw The Vow. I can’t remember the last time I went out to see a movie with my mom, and it was nice to have time with her.

Between shopping and movie time, I was a very exhausted girl by the early evening. We had Del Taco for dinner, and I had the insides of a chicken soft taco (sauce, chicken bits, and cheese). I felt like it was an acceptable portion, but chicken is still hard for me to eat. I immediately felt like I overate, and was very uncomfortable for over an hour. I wretched a few times, but was able to keep down my dinner. It’s so hard to know what foods I’ll be able to tolerate. I need to get enough protein, but meat is tough to keep down.

Tomorrow I’m back to work, and my goal is to make it through a half day. With my FMLA orders, I’m allowed to work a few reduced hour days before going back to my normal schedule. Hopefully I’ll feel up to it….tonight I’m so tired that I’m probably going to be asleep by 9:30.

Food diary:

  • A few sips of a protein smoothie
  • 1 wedge light Laughing Cow cheese
  • meat and cheese from part of a cheeseburger
  • heaping tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 2oz of light chicken and veggie soup
  • insides of Del Taco chicken soft tacos
  • 4 oz Coco-peach drink (Silk Coconut milk with sugar-free Torani peach syrup)


Eating Carefully At Cafe Rio

One of my favorite restaurants is Cafe Rio, a Utah-based Mexican fast casual diner. Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, salads, tostadas, and nachos galore! Their signature meat is a sweet pork barbacoa, pulled to perfection. The portions are plentiful and prices are reasonable. Oh, and the food tastes wonderful too.

All of these things are great…unless you’ve had weight loss surgery. Today was my coworker Suzanne’s last day, and a bunch of people met for lunch at Cafe Rio. I was feeling good and craving the Rio, so I decided to show up a little early, save some tables, and look over the menu with a fine-toothed comb.

After assessing what I can eat and what was on the menu, I thought of the genius idea for my dietary needs – a portion of pork barbacoa, smothered with green sauce and melted cheese. I talked to three different people at the register, showed them my dietary needs card, and they were all kinda weird about me ordering it. Since it would be about 4 bucks, it didn’t really seem worth it to me because I’d only be eating about 2 ounces of it. Plus, they acted like it was a huge inconvenience.

So instead, I ate off of Suzanne’s giant pork nachos. I took three chips from her pile, and only ate the pork and cheese, with a little bit of well-chewed pico de gallo. I tried the back beans, but they weren’t soft enough to mash, so I didn’t have them. I barely made a dent in her dish, and picked at the meat and cheese a little more over the hour, but left the restaurant feeling comepletely satisfied. Best part is that I got to eat some of my favorite food, meed my dietary needs, and it didn’t get me sick at all. Win win!

One Week Down

I’m a week post-op, and I feel like I’m healing pretty well. The immediate symptoms of my pneumonia are easing up, and I’ve started taking less pain medication. I’m still not able to be very active, but I get out walking at least once a day. It’s been nice to spend more time at home with Taylor and Rosie, even though I get cabin fever pretty easily.

Finishing up the first week brings with it something very exciting – new foods! I’ve gone from clear liquids to semi-solids to selected solids. I’ve been so happy to eat lean meat again. I can have shaved deli-sliced meat, minced up and chewed thoroughly. Canned chicken, turkey and tuna are also permitted. Other items I’ve added into my diet are cottage cheese, yogurt, egg whites, cooked beans, hummus, and selected soft cooked vegetables (carrots, beets, yams, green beans). Some people buy baby food, but I’d rather prepare my own stuff. Tonight my family wanted to have Mexican food, and I had my refried beans with cheese and a few bites of meat.

My happy news of the day is that I got on a scale, and I’ve had a great loss! I now weigh 355.2, which is down 18 pounds from my pre-surgery diet weight of 373.4 (1/30/12) and down 9 pounds from my pre-op weight of 363.3. Not bad for two weeks!

Today’s food:

  • Protein smoothie with peaches, strawberries, and banana – 3 oz
  • Shaved turkey breast with whipped light cream cheese – 2 oz
  • Refried beans with cheese and a little meat – 3 oz
  • Sugar-free fat-free vanilla pudding – 2 oz
  • Simply Apple juice – 3 oz
  • Water intake – 64 oz (finally did it!)
Thank you to all who commented on my Weighty Impressions post. I’ve had an outpouring of love and support. Many of those who related had been belittled and bullied for reasons other than obesity, and it’s heartbreaking to see how cruel people can be. It’s good to know I’m not alone, and that others have shared their stories.

Post-Op Day 4

The most pressing item of the day was to figure out a way to get comfortable. It was tough to prop up pillows on my bed and couch to get into a position without feeling chest pain. When I had surgery in 2005, my saving grace was my La-Z-Boy recliner. Since we’ve moved several times since then, we no longer have it available to use.

Taylor and I went on a daunting journey to both RC Willey and Furniture Warehouse (which despite months of “FINAL LIQUIDATION” notices, I doubt will ever actually go out of business.) The prices at RC Willey were better than Furniture Warehouse, but to get a recliner that was decently comfortable (and easy to maneuver the lever) was going to cost several hundred dollars. I can’t believe how many times I was able to stand up and down in the stores, and I had very sore abdominal muscles after.

I wouldn’t have minded putting out that kind of money to get comfortable, but there were NO chairs where the color, fabric, and design were right. I didn’t want to spent $289-699 on a chair that I hated looking at, no matter how comfortable it was. I was however, briefly intrigued by what I called the “Words with Friends” chair. Perfect for playing your favorite crossword game!

We ended up asking my parents if we could borrow their recliner for a few weeks, while I get my post-op discomfort under control. After a lengthy afternoon nap, we went to Lehi to have dinner with my parents. I gave them an update on how my recovery is going, talked about the upcoming stages in what food I can eat, pick up the recliner, and then we had dinner.

mashed potatoes and gravy

I read on a forum online that it’s okay to have powdered mashed potatoes at this stage of my recovery, so mashed potatoes has been on my mind all day. My parents made up some leftover meat and I had my little bit of mashed potatoes and beef gravy with some melted cheese. It’s the closest to a meal that I feel like I’ve had all week. This is what it looked like before, and I wasn’t even able to finish it.

As for the rest of the day, I was able to eat a little more than yesterday. I got in my chewable multivitamin twice, and my B-12 drops. Here’s what I was able to eat for the day. I’m putting total amounts consumed because some meals I have a bite or two of something different. I’ve been really digging apple juice, so I have it a few times a day, usually watered down to count it toward my daily water intake.

  • Simply Apple juice (4 oz)
  • 3 Tablespoons cottage cheese
  • 1 light Premium Creamies banana popcicle (half at two meals)
  • 3 Tablespoons mashed potatoes, gravy, and melted havarti
  • 1/4 cup sugar-free fat-free pudding
  • Water intake – 53 oz



Birthday Food Diary 2-5-12

Yesterday was my 32nd birthday. Happy birthday to me! It was pretty chill, especially in comparison to my birthday last year. I hosted the #FridaTweetup at Frida Bistro in Salt Lake City, where 40 of my nearest and dearest friends, family, and tweeps came up. It was a fun birthday party…but it was totally centered on delicious and unique food. Because I’m now so close to surgery, I wanted to have a more people centered-day. But of course, I still ate. 🙂

The day started out with Rosie bringing me breakfast in bed. She made scrambled eggs with chicken sausage. Then we got ready for church, attended church, had a friend come over to visit, and spent time together for the afternoon. Rosie made me a birthday smoothie and birthday cake, then we headed down to Lehi to my parents’ house for a family birthday party.

One of my dad’s specialties is teriyaki chicken, so I requested that for dinner. I brought a big container of baby portabella mushrooms to saute, and they were soooo good. I kept my portions really small, and had a small piece of chicken, lots of mushrooms, ONE TB of rice, a little corn, and some green beans. It’ll be my last time for corn and rice for a year, so I savored it.

We have a family tradition called “the birthday circle,” where we sit in the living room, and go around the circle telling stories about the person whose birthday it is. We enjoyed telling stories, laughing, and spending time together as a family. I was sad that my husband couldn’t be there.

After the birthday circle, we had some birthday cake. I kept my piece really small. Rosie made a cherry cake mix with cherry frosting and fudge drizzle. So yummy. Once we were done with dessert, my dad wanted to give me a priesthood blessing to help with my upcoming surgery. His former bishop came over to assist with the blessing, and I was given a blessing of a safe surgery and healthy recovery.  When the birthday festivities were finished, Rosie and I left to pick Taylor up from the airport. It will be nice to have him home for the next few weeks to help with my recovery. All in all, a nice birthday indeed.

  • Scrambled eggs and chicken sausage – 360 cal
  • Peach, blueberry, almond milk protein smoothie – 160 cal
  • Teriyaki chicken and veggies – 340 cal
  • Birthday cake – 160 cal
  • TOTAL – 1020 cal