No tracking, no problems

Now that I’m on a somewhat regular diet, one thing that I won’t miss is having to keep detailed records of exactly what I eat and when I eat it.

For the two months after the surgery, I had to monitor my food very closely to make sure I was getting enough protein while limiting my calories. I created my own trackers to record what I was eating and drinking. If I missed something, the trackers served as a reminder.

Today, I still need to be very conscious of what I eat and drink, but I don’t need to record everything meticulously. So, no more paper trackers.

The time for healing is over

Great news! It is two months and two days after my surgery, which means my stomach is mostly healed and I can eat a variety of foods. Of course, some things like pasta are still off limits, mainly because they’re high in carbs and I’m still trying to keep my calorie count down. But I can have steak and chicken (Footnote 1), fruit and veggies that aren’t fibrous (Footnote 2), and even an occasional piece of bread (Footnote 3).

Despite the expanded dietary freedom, I’ve decided to preserve my current eating habits on weekdays. This includes two protein shakes (8 ounces each) twice a day, two Dannon Oikos Triple Zero yogurts, a light dinner, and perhaps a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich as a treat.

On the weekends, I expect I’ll be more experimental with my diet. I think I’d like to go out for a proper steak soon — until now, I’ve been having meatloaf and chopped steak.

Footnotes
1. I have left turkey off this list, because it no longer agrees with my stomach. I guess I’ll be having something different for Thanksgiving.
2. As examples, I have to avoid pineapple and celery.
3. Actually, I’ve been sneaking in some toast for a few weeks now. Don’t tell anyone.

Cheating

As disciplined as I’ve been for the past two months, I have cheated on two occasions. Once, at a Starbucks drive through, I got a cheese Danish. I was only able to eat half. Not too long ago, I ate a Rice Krispy treat. I finished the whole thing.

I’m not too worried about the cheating. Two incidents in sixty days shows a lot of discipline for me, and I recognized the mistakes immediately. I don’t feel too remorseful. I didn’t atone for these things during Yom Kippur.

Going forward, I recognize that it’s very important to minimize cheating, but not to attempt to eliminate it altogether. Thinking I’ll never eat a forbidden food again is setting myself up for failure. There’s no way I can live up to that expectations. Instead, I have to remember that I’ll slip up, and that it’s OK as long the incidents are isolated and I learn from my mistakes.

And, even though I’ve slipped up twice, I’ve been able to resist temptation every other time. For example, the Complementary Spouse has been hiding a package of Pepperidge Farms chocolate chip cookies from me. I know where they are (Footnote 1), and I haven’t had one. I don’t eat any of the baked goods that are left in the break room at work. I haven’t succumbed to the allure of pizza.

Footnote
1. I know all your secrets.

Caffeine a no-no

I had my first major screw-up this morning. I was running to work and decided to stop at Starbucks. As I’ve had a mild headache for several days now, I accidentally ordered my usual drink, an iced coffee with some cream and three Splendas (Footnote 1). Then I started to drink it though the straw.

This was a no-no.

First of all, I’m not supposed to have any caffeine. I should have ordered a decaf — but I despise decaf coffee, so my usual order at Starbucks these days is a decaf iced tea.

Second, I’m not supposed to use straws. As it was explained to me, a straw makes it hard to regulate how much you’re sipping, and can put extra air into the stomach.

This is the first mishap in about three months, as I started to eliminate caffeine and straws about four weeks before the surgery. I know it was an honest mistake caused by me not being thoughtful, so I’m not too mad at myself.

Still, I shouldn’t have been so careless.

However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the caffeine has helped me with my headache.

Footnote:
1. Is Splenda or Splendas the plural of Splenda? Actually, as a grammar nerd, I’m actually hoping the plural is Splendae.

Another first (but not a good one)

For the first time since surgery, my stomach hurts. I think I tried to eat too much at dinner. I had a Morningstar meatless griller patty, which was a little spicy. I ate the whole thing, so I don’t know if it’s heat or the quantity that got to me. Right now, I’m lying flat in bed, watching RuPaul and waiting until I can drink some water.

Where shopping is a pleasure

As it turns out, one of my big post-surgery fears — going into grocery stores — hasn’t turned out to be a problem at all. I had been dreading my first trip back to a place where I’d be surrounded by food. Oreos. Pop-Tarts. Cupcakes. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Entenmann’s donuts. All temptations I need to avoid now.

As it turns out, it wasn’t that bad. The Complementary Spouse and I were running errands over the weekend, and he said he’d drop me off before going to Winn-Dixie. “I can’t avoid grocery stores forever,” I told him. “I’ll go with you.”

It was a little disappointing to walk in and see all the food I won’t be able to eat for months. It wasn’t just the sweets, which I’ll need to minimize for the rest of my life. It was the hot dogs, English muffins, pineapple, and other staples. But I didn’t feel nearly as tempted as I thought I would. I even picked out some things for myself: some Jell-O instant chocolate pudding (Footnote 1), and some sugar-free seedless raspberry jam to put on top of cottage cheese (Footnote 2).

Since that initial trip to Winn-Dixie, I’ve been to Publix and Spouts. I’ve also perused the food aisles at Target, Sam’s Club, Costco, and Walmart. And I haven’t had a problem. This is progress.

Footnotes
1. I can mix two scoops of protein powder in as I prepare Jell-O pudding. With the milk and protein powder, each half-cup serving has about 14 grams of protein. My goal is to have between 80 and 100 grams a day.
2. Another food that’s shockingly high in protein, even if the texture leaves something to be desired.

Two scrambled eggs and a recovery milestone

Last weekend, I ate outside the house for the first time since having the surgery. We went to IHOP, where I was able to get two scrambled eggs, which are allowed now that I’m on a pureed diet. I was able to finish about three-fourths of it.

The Complementary Spouse and I like to eat out, so this one meal represents a return to normalcy. However, it will be at least five week before I can have a real meal at a restaurant, and even then I’d have to be careful to only eat three to four ounces of food.

Off-topic: I saw the following sign outside the restaurant. Where am I supposed to walk?

Liquid lunch

This is what I’m supposed to drink four times a day. It is not too tasty. It’s one scoop of chocolate protein powder and eight ounces of milk. I put in a little powdered peanut butter to improve the taste.