Sunday, July 09, 2006

After Weight Loss Surgery, You Eat Low-Carb

Millions upon millions of people these days have given up all hope that they will ever be able to lose weight since they have tried and failed on just about every diet known to mankind -- including livin' la vida low-carb. These desperate people are literally willing to do anything to make the weight come off, even if it means going under the knife for gastrointestinal bypass or the increasingly popular LAP-BAND surgery. But after the weight loss surgery, how are you supposed to eat?

As many of you know who have read my book or remember me discussing it at times at my blog, my own mother had WLS (that's the short way to say "weight loss surgery") in December 2003, just one month before I started livin' la vida low-carb. She experienced dehydration that hospitalized her twice in the first month as it took some time for her body to adjust to this new smaller stomach. She lost 120 pounds (GO MOM!) obviously from eating less calories and has tried to hold it steady ever since. I'm so proud of what my mother has been able to accomplish.

But is there a "better" way to eat during post-WLS to maximize your weight loss and help you maintain long afterwards? Well, the answer to that question was introduced to me the first time I met my friend and fellow blogger Beth Badore.

Beth is a fun-loving, fat-no-more woman excited about life after WLS

Beth and her husband lost (get this!) over 300 pounds after they both decided they wanted to lose weight for the sake of their health as they planned to start having a family in the future (and congratulations are in order to the Badores as they are expecting a child in mid-October -- it might even be a Halloween spook like my brother Nathan was! HA!). You can read all about Beth's amazing weight loss journey by visiting her Melting Mama blog. What you will find there is a woman who is not only committed to her weight loss, but understands the importance of livin' la vida low-carb to keep her weight off.

YOU HEARD ME RIGHT -- the BEST diet for anyone to be on after they have had WLS is LOW-CARB! Period. End of story. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. While I don't have any personal experience with WLS since I lost my weight completely naturally with the Atkins diet, I do have quite a few readers at my blog who have had the surgery and say the doctors are very much in favor of a low-carb nutritional approach.

Here's what one of my readers who has lost a whopping 245 pounds since May 2004 after having WLS wrote to me in an e-mail this week explaining a popular dilemma that many in the WLS community experience:

I am a big fan of your blog and have been reading it for awhile now. I subscribe to the idea the more natural my diet is the better. The reason I decided to write you is simple--there are still those within the WLS community--who still spout the nonsense about low-fat/ low calorie. Some even try to do low-fat and low-carb--I shared your blog post with them concerning the dangers of doing this with a few of them. There's so much confusion for people about eating healthy.

For example, my sister has always been a whole lot smaller than me, so when I really started to drop the pounds she got it in her head to lose some weight, too. But she's from the old school low-fat/low-calorie way of eating. Not surprisingly, she quickly gained 30 pounds in just two months. Finally, she decided to try my way [low-carb] after seeing the results it had on me as well as our parents and now both she and her husband are at a comfortable weight and have maintained it for 6 months.

The biggest problem was getting her out of that hard-nosed low-fat mentality. She just couldn't bring herself into believing you could actually eat the foods you get to enjoy on low-carb and STILL lose weight.

Thank you for sharing such a personal part of yourself with the world.

It's my pleasure to talk about livin' la vida low-carb and I am pleased to know there are people like you out there sharing about the low-carb lifestyle with those you love the most. If everyone who supported low-carb living was as fervent and enthusiastic about sharing it with others who need to be doing it, then this obesity problem would start to turn around. Sure, she needed WLS to get her weight loss going, but now she's keeping it going with low-carb. WOO HOO!

There's another reader at my blog nicknamed MayaBlue who like my mother has lost 120 pounds following WLS in October 2004 and actually has her own blog called The New MayaBlue, aka "Starting Over After WLS." She shares pretty openly about what life is like once you've had this surgery and it's not always pretty. But she agrees with the previous reader that livin' la vida low-carb is DEFINITELY the way to eat for people who have had WLS.

Here's what MayaBlue wrote in an e-mail to me:

I love your blog and read it frequently since you are one of the few people who keeps up with a lot of the latest information on the low-carb/high-protein way of eating. Alhough my surgeon didn't tell me to specifically follow Atkins, South Beach or any of the many low-carb diets out there, he most certainly recommended that I keep my carb/sugar intake low and my protein intake high.

In fact, he told me that for the weight loss surgery to be successful, you will need to eat this way for the rest of your life. So keeping up on all the latest low-carb info is very, very important to me. That's why I love your blog!

There's something else about having WLS that people need to know about. I've learned very quickly that it is quite easy to gain weight even though I've had the surgery. At one point I started snacking on crackers, eating lots of bread, rice and potatoes and managed to gain 10 pounds back fast. I learned my lesson and have stuck with low-carb foods.

Many people think I've taken "the easy way out" by eating low-carb, but I can tell you that this has been one of the most difficult "diets" I have ever followed. I know people are just sitting around just waiting to see me fail so they can say "I told you so." But I keep reading blogs like yours to keep me focused on my new healthy way of eating because I plan to never weigh as much as I did before. Thanks again for posting all the great info on your blog. And congratulations to you on your incredible weight loss as well. You've done an outstanding job....keep up the good work and the great blogging!

THANKS so much MayaBlue! Your comments are right on track with what I have said many times. People will try to discourage you from continuing on with low-carb since it's some passing "fad" that nobody is doing anymore. Try telling that to the millions of us who have made this our permanent lifestyle change and never, ever intend on going back to that high-carb, low-fat way of eating ever again! NOPE! Been there, done that, made me fat!

It's nice to know that livin' la vida low-carb is a great way to lose and maintain your weight, even for those who have had the experience of going through weight loss surgery. While I am so thankful the low-carb lifestyle worked well enough for me to lose weight without resorting to WLS, I am equally appreciative that this way of eating fits so perfectly within the lifestyle of those who have been through this surgery. Now, they are livin' la vida low-carb! Yee haw!

7-10-06 UPDATE: My blogging friend Beth Badore saw her picture on my blog today and had to make a confession...(too funny!)


Blogger Andrew Langer said...

Jimmy -

Great blog! I came here via your old friend, Laura Creekmore's blog (Laura and I work together - she in Nashville and me in DC). I, too, went through a transformation through Atkins in 2004 - mine was not as dramatic as yours, though I did lose 60lbs in 5 months. I've kept the weight off (I celebrate my 2nd anniversary of losing the weight on July 17), and continue to live "la vida low carb" (tremendously clever, by the way).

I'm going to have to keep reading your blog, as we're constantly trying to keep track of low-carb options on the marketplace (we just stocked up on low-carb ketchup, btw, because few of our markets are carrying it these days).

Check out the recipe on my blog for "grilled cabbage" - it's a great low-carb recipe, stuffed with bacon (I tinker with it by substituing a low-carb ketchup-based BBQ sauce for that called for in the original). I think you'll like it.

- Andrew Langer

7/09/2006 2:28 PM  
Blogger Melting Mama said...

Jimmy -

I was askeered when I happened upon your blog today, and saw my own face. While I understand what you're aiming at - I did not have WLS to have children. Heck, I was hoping that WLS would cause less fertility, catch the drift? The fact that I'm pregnant AGAIN is a "side effect" of the WLS. See? Anywho - have a lovely night.


7/10/2006 8:42 PM  

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