Always Hungry Post WLS – Bariatric Edition

I run an online support group.  If you would like to be a part of our community, go HERE and send a request to join.  I will approve it and you can be a part of our community.  

In our support group, I posted a question last week.  That question was, “What are your biggest struggles when it comes to health and post-surgery weight loss”.  

We got a ton of responses.  Some of you have trouble drinking enough water, others have heartburn.  There are few members who have trouble seeing the  “new person” in the mirror.  They still see their former 250-pound selves.  But, there was one underlying response that concerned me the most. 

 There are a lot of members who feel constantly hungry.  

For some reason, people believe that the VSG procedure will relieve them permanently from feeling any hunger.  This is because when the gastric sleeve is performed, there is a part of the stomach removed that produces the hormone Ghrelin. Ghrelin is known as the “hunger hormone” because it stimulates appetite and promotes fat storage.  Ghrelin is just one of the MANY factors influencing hunger and fat storage.

Obesity is a disease.  It is a hormonal disease and there are MANY hormones involved and one of the main hormones is insulin.  We need to understand insulin in order to understand so many other things.  It’s one of my favorite topics because a true understanding of insulin answers so many questions we have about diseases like obesity and metabolic issues like type two diabetes.

I am not going to dive into a physics and anatomy course in this blog.  I want it to remain simple and readable and I want everybody to finish it to the end. 

A huge slice of the population has issues with the hormone insulin.  You may be in that huge slice.  My goal as a holistic nutritionist that specializes in bariatric nutrition is to help people lower their insulin levels.  I know that most of my clients have troubles with insulin even if they have not been diagnosed with insulin resistance, pre-diabetes or type two diabetes. 

 You see, insulin resistance is just the beginning of the road to full-blown diabetes.  You can have issues with insulin for years and even decades before the diagnosis of even pre-diabetes is made.  

Are you always feeling hungry?  Do you eat something and then an hour later feel the need to eat again?  Do you feel like you are chained to the refrigerator at times?  This may be due to the fact that you are having issues with insulin.  

I know that I have troubles with insulin.  My labs come back normal but I still know that I am on the road to insulin resistance and pre-diabetes if I continue to eat the standard American diet.  I found myself constantly hungry.  I called it my “food panic”.   Many years ago I used to think it was a type of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia.  Why would I go into food panic and need to eat NOW?  I guess I just thought it was “normal for me” and it was just the way I had to live.

I went back to school as an adult and studied nutrition full time.  It was in the classroom where I had my “AH-HA” moment.  It finally all made sense.  You see, I thought I was eating a fantastic diet.  I ate whole grains and quinoa.  I loved my beet salads and I brewed my kombucha in my kitchen.  Beans and brown rice were a staple in my kitchen.  I baked my bread and I made sure that my family ate the same way that I did.

What I realized was that my diet was completely wrong for my biochemical individuality.  I was slowly creating insulin issues for myself.  When I ate those foods that were very high in carbohydrates, my blood sugar soared.  When my blood sugar soars (high glucose levels), the bodies response is to make insulin.  Insulin’s job is to grab the glucose and get it into the cells where it can be used.  Blood sugar cannot just hang out in the blood or we would have a diabetic crisis after each meal or snack.

So the more grains, beans, fruit, carbs that I ate, the hungrier I became because INSULIN MAKES US HUNGRY.  

I want to write that again …. insulin makes us hungry.  So, if high insulin levels make us hungry, what would happen if we have low insulin levels?  What would that look like?  Exactly!!!  Bells went off in my head.  If I changed my diet and ate foods lower in carbs, would I feel less hungry?  That is exactly what happened.  I did it slowly and I started removing the rice, beans, fruit, and corn from my diet.  I started feeling better.  I started sleeping better.  My eczema got better.  

All of this happened to me over some time.  I didn’t dramatically overhaul my entire kitchen overnight but I did make small changes that added up over a long period of time.  My family also started eating this way.  Now, they don’t have issues with insulin (yet) but would it be safe for them to also follow my low carb lifestyle?  Of course, it is safe for them!  We eat protein, healthy fats, tons of vegetables, berries, nuts, seeds, full-fat yogurts, etc. etc.  We no longer eat the standard American diet.  And guess what, I no longer have issues with being chained to the refrigerator due to the inability to be able to stabilize blood sugars.

Are you hungry?  All the time?  Do you think you may have an issue with insulin?  

If you do think that this may be something that is affecting you, you can try a week of very low carb eating to see if you can balance out your cravings.  It works like a charm for me personally.  If I eat foods high in carbs like bread, pasta, rice or tortillas, I can feel the hunger hit me like a hammer an hour after those foods are in my stomach.

So do I eat bread every once in a while?  Of course, I do. I am only human and I will ALWAYS love my french fries.  But, I also know that I need to take care of my blood sugars and insulin levels.  I eat low carb MOST of the time and I allow myself treats every once in a while.  

Do you know what happens when you eat real food?  You feel more satisfied and you are not craving the carbs like you used to.  Do yourself a favor and give it a try.  Lower your carbs and increase healthy fats and see how you feel overall. Keep a diary and check in with how you are feeling between meals.  

You may just find that your hunger levels are back in balance.  

FaceBook LIVE  3pm EST on Friday, August 30th.

 

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

For bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

Time for a “bariatric expert” multivitamin?  Here is a perfect way for bariatric patients to get it now on Amazon:  Bariatric Expert MultiVitamins.

Eat Like a Bariatric Expert with our Nutrition Plans.

Feel free to share your victories and struggles in our Facebook Group. I would love to connect with you.

Stay motivated with Bariatric Wristbands – post your results online!

 

Gastric Sleeve Plush Toy Keychain $11.99usd

Gastric Sleeve Throw Blanket $19.99usd

Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd

 

The Fat Fast – Bariatric Edition

Following along the same theme as last week (celery juice), I decided to take one of the biggest health trends of 2019 and break it down for you.  

Will I be trying this personally?  Yes.  I have done it in the past and it truly helped me.  I will be giving this a try again, this week.  And, I will do a FB live video about it on Friday, August 23rd.  Feel free to tune in for the results, and feel free to join me this week while I give the fat fast a try.
 
Am I telling you or encouraging you to do a Fat Fast?  No.  I am just telling you what it is and sharing my ideas about how it works for me and why it may work for you.  I am logging my food experiences for you.  It may make perfect sense to you and you may think that it is something that you have zero interest to try. 
 
Yeah for biochemical individuality!!  I do me and you do you.
 
Isn’t it funny how when you decide to eat in a certain way for just a few days, people go insane and tell you how “unhealthy” it is and how you are risking your health.  But, it is fine to eat the Standard American Diet (SAD) which tells us to fill up on corn, grain, rice, and beans.  
 
Sure, it’s fine to eat like crap on the weekend and consume Doritos and Oreo cookies and french fries but the second I discuss eating salmon, eggs and spinach for a few days, people are in an uproar.  Funny.
 
Have you heard about it yet?  The Fat Fast!  This is like a compromise from typical fasting.  It is as close as you can get to fasting, without doing a true fast.  It is a technique to achieve a quick loss on the scale. It will get you into ketosis quickly.  It helps with hunger and cravings.
 
The fat fast can be used in two situations: 
 
  • Breaking past a 2-week stall or plateau
  • Inducing into ketosis, or fasting more comfortably or more quickly
 
It is very simple.  You know how when people fast, they drink just water, black coffee, bone broth, and herbal tea?  Well, during a fat fast, they eat only food which is high in healthy fat.  It originates from doctors who want their patients to fast but they fail.  The fat fast is a compromise over a true fast or a step to help people get off the carbs and get ready for a true fast.
 
If you are having trouble with a traditional fast or with intermittent fasting, this is something you can try.  
 
There are a lot of people who are interested in intermittent fasting or in following a lower-carb diet or a ketogenic lifestyle.  When they make an honest attempt to try, they quickly get derailed because they are seriously craving the foods which they are trying to eliminate from their diet … CARBS!!
 
They try to go longer periods between meals but they are unable to get past the first few hours because their tummies are rumbling and they are feeling desperate to eat.  There are situations where people are having serious health issues and all they want to do is a traditional fast for a specific amount of time to allow their bodies to heal.  How can they move past this sugar/ glucose/ carb roller-coaster and feel better in order to introduce a short or a longer fast? 
 
Fasting is a powerful tool.  It enables us to decrease insulin levels and then at the same time regain a good insulin signaling …. and it happens very quickly.  
 
Enter the Fat Fast.
 
You can compare a Fat Fat to an extreme version of a ketogenic diet.  You are trying to keep the carbs as low as possible while ramping up your fat intake and keeping protein at a minimum.  Compare your fat fast to a regular fast whereby there is a start and a finish.  It is a tool that you can use. It is a temporary state or a strategy.
 
A Fat Fast is meant to be for the short term only.  It can be introduced for 3 to 5 days.  You want to be sure to consume “healthy fats” during this period of time.  Remember, this is a strategy to be followed to get you to a “better place” where you are not craving so many carbs or in preparation for a true fast. 
 
This is a tool to enable people to get back on track after consuming too many processed and refined carbohydrates or to get ready for regular intermittent fasting or a longer fast.  This can help to enter fat-burning mode while experiencing less uncomfortable side effects ie, belly rumbling and migraines/ headaches.
 
It is just another tool in our tool-box on our journey to health and wellness.  
 
The original Fat Fast was introduced by Dr. Adkins in his first book in 1972.  People were encouraged to eat four to five little meals that were high in fat throughout the day.  In the newer, more modified Fat Fast, people are not limiting their calories but they are eating only the recommended foods and they are seeing great results.  
 
They are losing a bit of weight, feeling better and having an easier time to get rid of the carbs in their diet.  We have to remember that eating carbs, will raise your insulin levels.  Eating only fat keeps insulin levels very low.  Low insulin levels mean that we feel less hungry throughout the day. 
 
So how do we get the Fat Fast right?
 
First of all, don’t limit your calories.  This is a sure-fire way to fail very quickly.  You want to eat until satisfied. Fill your bariatric pouch until satiety.  Your appetite will decrease quickly and you will be able to eat less food without feeling hungry.  Remember, we want to control our hunger and not be eating all day long so that should be one of our goals.  This is a strategy to help you get there.  Don’t eat when you are not hungry.  Listen to your body.
 
Doing a short fat fast is not something dangerous.  It is a SHORT fat fast.  It has a beginning and an end.  You will get everything you need for those few days from the fat fast because the foods that you eat are going to be quite nutrient-dense.  You don’t have to worry about lacking protein because the fat fast contains foods which are naturally high in fat AND protein.
 
So what the heck can you eat on a Fat Fast??
Here is my personal list.
 
  • Eggs
  • Fatty Fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring)
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Lettuce, leafy greens, zucchini, celery
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Butter, olive oil, avocado oil, MCT oil, coconut oil.
  • Heavy cream, cream cheese.
  • Mayo (made with a healthy oil)
  • High-fat nuts (brazil nuts, macadamia nuts)
 
The list of foods on my personal list is very short. This makes my life easier.
 
I don’t do substitutions. I don’t switch salmon for chicken or lettuce for corn.
 
If you do not like the foods on the list, then my Fat Fast will not be for you OR you can create your own version.  These are the foods which I personally use.
 
If this was called the “onion soup fast”, I would not do it because I hate onions.  
 
Here are some samples of meals and snacks: 
 
  • Scrambled, baked or fried eggs cooked in butter
  • Deviled eggs or egg salad and avocado
  • Spinach with salmon
  • Green salad with olives and olive oil 
  • Black coffee, tea, water, bone broth
  • Zoodles (Zucchini noodles) with a high fat sauce
  • Celery topped with cream cheese
I suggest making a one-day food plan and to follow it for 3 days.  Easy peasy … your own personalized 3 day fat fast.  Or you can give mine a try and let me know how it goes.
 
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions. And, if you join me on a fat fast, let me know how it went for you and what your results were like.
 
When I feel my eating is out of control, it generally means that my life is unbalanced in another area. I try “health hacks” as a means of grabbing ahold of other parts of my life. It is a way for me to scan other areas and correct them. I don’t like staying stuck.
 

FaceBook LIVE  3pm EST on Friday, August 23.

 

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

For bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

Time for a “bariatric expert” multivitamin?  Here is a perfect way for bariatric patients to get it now on Amazon:  Bariatric Expert MultiVitamins.

Eat Like a Bariatric Expert with our Nutrition Plans.

Feel free to share your victories and struggles in our Facebook Group. I would love to connect with you.

Stay motivated with Bariatric Wristbands – post your results online!

 

Gastric Sleeve Plush Toy Keychain $11.99usd

Gastric Sleeve Throw Blanket $19.99usd

Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd

 

I am stuck – Bariatric Edition

Who feels like this?  Stuck?  In a weight-loss RUT.  

Who has fallen off the pink cloud? 

Who has realized that their bariatric surgery is just a tool?

Who wants to use their tool better to get unstuck? 

We all have these feelings at one time or another after weight loss surgery. 

The first year after surgery can be one big, exciting time because we have so many “wins” during that FIRST YEAR. 

  • The weight is falling off.
  • Our doctor is happy with our cholesterol levels.
  • Some of us have ditched the high blood pressure medications.
  • Some of can bid adieu to diabetes medications.
  • Our backs, knees, hips and feet have less pain.
  • We get to buy a new fun wardrobe.
  • No more seat-belt extenders on the airplane.
  • We are sleeping better.
  • We are happier.

The “I lost a lot of weight” pros-list can go on and on depending on your specific circumstances.

We move into year two with confidence. 

Have we made the changes that needed to be made in order to keep our first-year results?  Time to re-evaluate. And we can re-evaluate at any time along this journey.  Not just at the 12-month mark – we can evaluate 2 years, 4 years, 10 years, 20 years later.  

If you are stuck …. it may be time to re-evaluate and make some new changes.  It is NEVER too late to make healthy changes.  Please remember that.  Every single day is a new day.  Every single day is an opportunity to make the next meal a healthy meal.  We get a second chance every time we eat so don’t get discouraged if you find yourself in a rut or if you feel stuck.  

We can “unstuck” ourselves at any time.

The “bariatric pink cloud” lasts for about a year but our tool stays with us for a lifetime. 

So what kind of changes can we make to get the scale moving again, or to get our sugars back to normal, or to help our blood pressure stay in the normal range? 

Let’s start with food.  What foods should we be avoiding? 

  • Fruit that is high in fructose (sugar)
  • Processed food
  • Crackers
  • Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Bread
  • Buns
  • Bagels
  • Tortillas
  • English muffins
  • Candy
  • Ice-cream
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Potatoes

You should aim for a diet which is low in SUGAR and STARCH.

What sorts of foods should we be eating to get back on our pink cloud? 

  • Whole Live Natural Good-Quality FOOD 🙂
  • Meat, poultry, eggs, fish
  • Lots of low carb veggies
  • Small amounts of low sugar berries
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Full-fat dairy products
  • Healthy fat

Notice how most of the foods listed above are whole foods?  They don’t have a long list of ingredients.  Most of them do not come with a label either.  They are just real food.  There are no tricks or pills or shakes.  

What about exercise?  

Exercise is so important!  I always say, “weight-loss occurs in the kitchen” BUT “good health occurs through exercise”.  

We cannot exercise our way out of a bad diet.  Especially when we hit a “certain age”… who has the time or energy to spend 3 hours a day in the gym and is that realistic or even good for us and our joints?  

Exercise helps keep us healthy and it lubricates our joints.  It helps to prevent age-related diseases and it eases the symptoms of depression.  Exercise is a big key to success on this bariatric journey.  Find something you like.  Walk or jog.  Bike or run.  Go to the gym or participate in yoga classes.  Swim or garden.  Just please try to do something every day to stay active.  

I have personally seen what inactivity does to the body.  It scares me.  Please don’t allow this to happen to you.  Love yourself enough to move that beautiful body of yours.  If you have been inactive, guess what, today can be the first day of the rest of your active life.  Please move.

Sleep is the best free medicine.

Shout that from the rooftops.  Sleep is the BEST medicine and it is FREE.  Every day we get an opportunity to sleep better.  Sleep is powerful.  It is a time for our body to rebuild and regroup and when we don’t take the time to sleep properly, we get out of balance.  

This puts a lot of stress on our body and our hormones (like cortisol)start to rise and high levels of this hormone make weight loss more difficult.  Please take your sleep seriously and put together a sleep hygiene plan.  

Is your bedroom the perfect temperature?  Is it dark enough?  Is there a noise that is waking you up? Are you eating too close to bedtime?  Figure out what you can do to improve your sleep conditions.  Take advantage of this healing time and allow your body to get sufficient rest.

We all go through periods where we feel stuck.  The champions rise to the top and they don’t stay stuck for long.  They get back on the elevator and take it to the next floor!  They put together a plan that starts NOW and they take back their control.  Nobody can take that away from you.  Make your plan and “unstuck” yourself now.

Reach out and tell me what you are going to do today to hop back onto your pink cloud 😉

FaceBook LIVE  3pm EST on Friday, August 16th.

 

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

For bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

Time for a “bariatric expert” multivitamin?  Here is a perfect way for bariatric patients to get it now on Amazon:  Bariatric Expert MultiVitamins.

Eat Like a Bariatric Expert with our Nutrition Plans.

Feel free to share your victories and struggles in our Facebook Group. I would love to connect with you.

Stay motivated with Bariatric Wristbands – post your results online!

 

Gastric Sleeve Plush Toy Keychain $11.99usd

Gastric Sleeve Throw Blanket $19.99usd

Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd

 

Celery Juice and Self Care – Bariatric Edition

Last Sunday I posted a picture of my plan for the week.  I wanted to jump on the “celery juice boat”.  It is something I wanted to do for some time and finally, that time had come and I found celery on sale at my local supermarket.  Good timing! (LOL – true story).

Others were interested in my plan to drink celery juice.  They reached out to me and the questions started coming in … will it help me lose weight?  will it help me sleep better? will it help with my high blood pressure? 

I don’t have all those answers but I have a healthy curiosity and I wanted to give it a try.

I dug out my juicer, gave it a good clean and then washed and prepped 4 big bags of celery for the juicing process.  My husband doesn’t have a choice this week.  He is going to drink celery juice at 11.30am with me and he’s going to like it (poor guy).  I am fortunate because he doesn’t complain and likes these kinds of challenges or hacks that I introduce on a pretty frequent basis.

So why juicing? And why celery? 

I retired my juicer a few years ago.  I believe that juicing removes the fiber from the beautiful vegetable (I don’t juice fruit ever … too high in fructose) and I want to eat my vegetables and not drink them. 

Juicing held a time and place in my life and it was great but as food nutrition science changes, we also need to be open to the new research so I read, learn, and initiate new routines into my life to try to stay on top of the information that is coming at us at warp speed.

Celery is the new “super” food or fad of the moment.  It’s kind of like the new “avocado” or “chia seed”.

#celeryjuice is actually a real hashtag and it has over 100,000 tags on IG.  Everybody is buzzing about celery juice today. 

Look, this is celery.  This isn’t something that somebody is trying to sell you or scam you into buying. It’s not a pill or a powder.  It’s just celery so let’s just get that out of the way.  It’s not something that somebody is trying to push on you to make a profit.  It’s not a supplement that comes in a bottle.  It’s not unsafe.  I mean, what’s there to lose besides a bit of time cleaning and prepping all those celery stalks.

“It’s not a supplement that comes in a bottle” …. After I wrote that in the above paragraph, I went online to check.  Guess what … it comes in a bottle now.  Please do not buy celery in a bottle.  It is not the same thing.  Somebody decided to cash in on the celery craze.  They don’t care about your good health.  They just want to sell you something. 

I don’t buy into the celery craze 100%.  But, I am going to try it.  My background is in nutrition and I know that drinking celery juice once a day on an empty stomach is not going to do me any harm.  It is also not going to save the world.

We have scientific data today that suggests that celery juice contains antioxidant compounds called flavones.  These flavones could reduce or stop specific reactions in the body that lead to chronic inflammation.  This would mean that it could potentially lower your risk of chronic disease. Notice how I use the words “could” and “potentially”.  More research is required.

Speaking of inflammation, I have eczema on my hands.  I hate it. It itches and bothers me and I know it comes from the “inside”.  It’s not something that I can slap a cream on and fix. It is a symptom of something going on inside of my body.  I will raise a glass of celery juice each day and clean up my diet to see if I can also clean up my eczema.  No harm in trying right? 

Here are the nutritional facts for celery juice for 8 ounces, in case you are wondering: 

  • Total Fat 0g
  • Total Carbohydrate 2.8g
  • Vitamin C 2.2mg
  • Vitamin A 270ug
  • Vitamin K 24.3ug

 

It also contains magnesium, phthalates, and potassium which may potentially help those with high blood pressure.

And it’s worth it to mention that it contains bioactive flavonoids.

Obviously, more research is required and we are all biochemical individuals and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the next person.

I don’t expect celery to save the world.  I am very realistic in my expectations but what kind of nutritionist would I be if I didn’t try some of these things out for you and give you my honest opinion.

Self-Care …. what do you think of when you read that word?  I used to think it was manicures and pedicures.  Getting your hair done is “self-care” right?  Taking a bubble bath is self-care right?  For some people, it just may be.  It used to be for me also.

Today “self-care” has a new meaning for me.  It is doing a food prep on a Sunday when I don’t feel like it or turning the lights out and sleeping when I am in the middle of a Netflix binge.  

Self-care is working out because I know I need to.  Self-care is forgiving somebody who has wronged me.  Forgiveness is not for them, it’s for me and my mental health and well-being.

This week “self-care” for me is drinking celery juice.  I raise my green glass and I wish you a beautiful week and I hope that you take some time for your self care also.

Green Celery Hugs … coming your way xo

 

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

For bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

Time for a “bariatric expert” multivitamin?  Here is a perfect way for bariatric patients to get it now on Amazon:  Bariatric Expert MultiVitamins.

Eat Like a Bariatric Expert with our Nutrition Plans.

Feel free to share your victories and struggles in our Facebook Group. I would love to connect with you.

Stay motivated with Bariatric Wristbands – post your results online!

 

Gastric Sleeve Plush Toy Keychain $11.99usd

Gastric Sleeve Throw Blanket $19.99usd

Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd