On a daily basis, I answer questions about bariatric surgery. “Is it expensive?” (Yes, but insurance will usually cover it for the severely obese.) “Does it hurt?” (Oh, my, yes, but the recovery period isn’t too long.) “Aren’t you hungry all the time now?” (No, actually, I am very rarely hungry, usually only after physical exercise of some kind.)
And, most frequently: “What can you eat these days?” Followed up by: “How can you live on portion sizes that small?”
The truth is, I eat pretty well nowadays. I just eat much smaller portions and quite a few times during any given day. I’ve borrowed an idea from one of my favorite blogs, The World According to Eggface, and decided to show what a dietary day looks like almost 6 months out from my Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy.
Wow, what an overloaded plate, right?
Actually, all our meals these days are served on
salad (actually dessert plates, nice save by my editor) plates, not dinner plates. It actually makes the meals look and feel larger.
To start the day off, here we have 1 egg, 1 ounce of sausage, 1 ounce of colby-jack cheese, and 1 ounce sliced strawberries. The egg (77 calories, 6 grams of protein, 1 gram of carbohydrates) can be boiled, scrambled or fried for the sake of variety. Fried eggs are cooked with cooking spray, not cooking oil. Breakfast meats like bacon, ham, and sausage (summer sausage pictured here, 119 calories, 5 grams of protein, 1 gram carbohydrates) are rotated pretty regularly as well. Cheese is an awesome protein source (110 Calories, 7 grams of protein, 1 gram carbs.), and makes an appearance in just about every meal we make at home. And, though it inflates our carb count, we refuse to live without fresh fruits and vegetables. (Strawberries: 9 calories, 0g Protein, 2g Carbs.) Some type of produce puts in an appearance at every meal we have at home.
Lunch happens here right after we return from the gym. It is usually the only meal where we are actually hungry, and we tend to eat slightly more to compensate.
During our pre-surgery diets, we were dismayed to discover how hard it was to eat low-carb meals, Early on we discovered Oscar Meyer’s “P3” meals, which placed a meat, a cheese and some nuts in a small package. We lived on those things for months.
After surgery, we investigated and found out that we could build our own versions of the P3 at home at a comparable cost. We actually get larger portions of higher-quality deli meats and get to add produce as well. Here we have:
- 1 ounce of deli ham (41 calories, 6g protein, 0g carbs)
- 1 ounce of colby-jack cheese (110 calories, 7g protein, 1g carbs)
- 1 ounce of almonds (167 calories, 6g protein, 5g carbs)
- 5 grape tomatoes (15 calories, 0g protein, 5g carbs)
- 1 ounce of apple slices (15 calories, 0g protein, 4g carbs)
- For dessert, one home-baked Protein Brownie Bite (76 calories, 2g protein, 9g carbs)
We do go a bit over our usual 20-grams of carbs per meal restriction here, but given that this happens immediately upon return from a couple of hours at the gym I don’t really sweat it. We have a hard ceiling of 60 grams of carbs each day to work with.
Dinner is frequently our lightest meal of the day. Lor still loves to cook, so she will prep “normal” entrees, which we will then consume over the course of the next 2 or 3 days. Pictured here is a fairly common meal:
- 1/2 cup of chicken salad, made with shredded chicken, olive oil mayonnaise, sriracha, and diced veggies (107 calories, 13g protein, 5 grams carbs)
- 1 ounce of cheddar cheese (114 calories, 7g protein, 0g carbs)
- 1 ounce of cucumber slices (4 calories, 0g protein, 1g carbs)
- 1 ounce of grapes (19 calories, 0g protein, 5g carbs)
Finally, every day we will usually also have a snack: frequently this is Greek Yogurt, a product I have really come to love over the last few months. (Dannon Oikos Salted Caramel: 120 Calories, 15g protein, 14g Carbs is a pretty typical choice.)
The Grand Total:
This represents a fairly typical dietary day in our household. Adding up the 3 meals and one snack works out to:
- 1,103 Calories
- 74g of Protein
- 54g of Carbohydrates
Are all days like this? No, of course not. Just like everyone else, we slip up from time to time. But, as our nutritionist likes to tell us, the trick is to have more good days than bad days. Not to mention that hitting the gym 6 days a week provides a nice caloric safety net.
Oh, and an example of what used to be a single meal for me, just for the sake of comparison. A Quarter-Pounder value meal from McDonald’s with fries and a coke? 1,120 Calories, 29g of Protein and 146g of Carbs.
And that’s not even super-sized.
No Wonder I Was Super-Sized,