The Great Fiber Experiment

I needed to pull myself out of a funk before I could focus on something specific for July.  It took a couple of days for me to decide I would do just one thing: focus on fiber.

Starting 4 July, I set a goal to get 20-25 grams of fiber each day.  It’s the only thing I was doing in the beginning that I’m was not doing well now.

I dunno what happened exactly…I do know when I ran out of my fiber gummies I did not rush out to buy more.  I do not have a good explanation other than I was solidly on solid food and much prefer to eat fiber.

When I was on liquids and purees, it was fully obvious fiber supplements were necessary so I’d pop a gummie or two with every ‘meal’ to help avoid constipation.  After I stopped taking pain meds, I was…NEVER…constipated.  But, somewhere in the transition to whole food I also stopped really looking on how many grams of fiber I was getting daily and supplementing when necessary.  Especially in June, I felt like I did little more than battle constipation.

*Shrugs*

There is a universal truth about the human body: It is only going to go along for so long without adequate fiber before becoming constipated.  It’s not a weight loss surgery thing.  It’s a body mechanics thing.

Why is fiber even important?

Aside from the colon and heart health aspect, fiber also helps post weight loss surgery bodies manage all the toxins which are released as our fat stores dwindle (Read more about body fat and toxin storage and elimination here).

If the toxins are not excreted as waste, they can actually build back up in the remaining fat and slow weight loss.  (Read more about that process here.)

However, now that we’ve had weight loss surgery fiber and the process of elimination becomes even more important.  The rate at which we lose fat means our bodies are processing a heavy toxic load.  If we’re not getting enough fiber, if we’re not having a good bowel movement at least daily; we’re frustrating the whole process of having weight loss surgery in the first place.

So how did The Great Fiber Experiment go?

I may have started the month unfunkifying myself and unfortuantely the need to do so followed me around like the proverbial black cloud of doom.

In July I…

  • Found out my surgeon is being investigated for insurance fraud
  • Which lead me to question my own bills where I easily found what had better be fraud
  • Because if he actually removed part of my colon then he’s also going be investigated for malpractice but even if he didn’t there’s a good chance I have a malpractice case anyway
  • Disputed all possible charges and started a fraud case with my insurance company
  • Searched for a malpractice attorney (still looking if you know a good one in Las Vegas)
  • Had an incident with not being able to swallow and spent a week of testing and not eating solids.  Results are inconclusive thus far
  • Found out my multivitamins were trying to kill me.  Nope, I’m not kidding.  Apparently the copper has been pooling in my blood and had we not caught it, it might have lead to liver failure or death.
  • And…sadly…that’s only the medical issues.

Was I able to stay to my July fiber goal of 20-25 grams daily?

Most days, yes.

The others, well I had great reason.  If I can’t swallow I’m not consuming much of anything so who cares if it has fiber.  I can forgive myself for that!!!

I also wanted to do this without adding gummies back to my shopping list.

However, in my extensive searching the internet and my food journal time and actually finding lots of ways to increase my fiber I stumbled on some really critical information.

Those little fiber gummies I stopped taking has the precise type of fiber recommended for gut health.

No, not all fiber is created equal.  There are three basic types and several sub-types each with their own function.

The inulin in my Fiber Advance gummies is the prebiotic, gut-healing type and since I have autoimmune disease this is the type I need to be consuming more than anything.

ALL–yes, I do mean ALL–weight loss happens in the gut.

Sick or struggling guts = Struggling weight loss

Here’s why I say that for MY body it totally matters:

March 8-30 (surgery date to the end of the month) 24.6 pounds!!!  Whoop, whoop
April: 8.3 pounds
May 6.2 pounds
June 6.9 pounds
July 8.2 pounds, 2.1 pounds in the last 7 days

I bet even you can tell when I stopped the gummies, started eating solid food, not getting enough of the right fiber, figured it out, and made a U-turn.

As you can see, I only figured out the inulin connection a week ago.

Nothing else has changed.

Well, okay, fiber-wise nothing has changed.

By pouring over my food journal, I discovered at some point I decided to shave a couple hundred calories off my day too.  No good reason.  I honestly hadn’t realized it.  That means that 2.1 pounds has come off with the help of adding those calories back while making sure I was eating the right type of fiber.

Could the fewer calories be the real reason my weight loss was struggling?  Nope.  Of course, I checked.

In checking, something fascinating appeared.

I can make a direct correlation between me consuming fiber gummies and/or at least 25g of fiber daily and the scale moving.  I found zero acceptations to the ‘rule’.

Here are several morals to my July story:

  1. If something feels off, it probably is.
  2. Food journals are essential tools.
  3. Gut health is critical.
  4. Fiber is a strong piece of the weight loss puzzle.
  5. Even the most well-vetted surgeon can still end up being an ass.
  6. THIS IS WORK PEOPLE!!!  Do not let someone tell you that because you’re doing okay or better than before surgery that you should just be happy.
  7. Take the damn gummies woman!!!!!

If I can throw down another ‘dismal’ 8.5 pound month for August I’ll hit Onederland ahead of what I targeted and fiber gummies are at the top of my shopping list.

Yes, I know 8.5 pounds in one month is nearly 5 times better than my pre-op body could muster but everyone, especially me, needs to let go of qualifying it like that or at all.  Losing 8.5 pounds or less per month as a ‘normal’ in the first year post weight loss surgery indicates an issue or three.  Period.

 

 

 

Lowest Known Adult Weight

211.0!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This morning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I did it.  I’m still in a little bit of shock.

My lowest known adult weight was 212.2 on 10/24/05.  It was a few months after I became only the second person in my family to graduate college with at least an Associate’s degree.  But, I actually had two of them and on my way to a Bachelor’s degree.  I also was getting divorced.

The regain was slow–10 pounds in the following two years–but it did happen.  Then I remarried in 2008, found out he was clinically insane (no, really like the stuff of horror movies), got divorced again, was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and gained over 50 pounds in four months as the side effects of the medication took hold.

I went from healthy and active to disabled and gaining weight I didn’t earn in less than eighteen months.

It was heart-wrenching.

Then in 2010, I kicked the medications to the curb and demanded my life back.

It’s been a long, slow journey to here and I absolutely know having weight loss surgery was the right tool for me and my body.

I have been curious how I would feel about getting here.  I have lost all the weight of those painful moments and have arrived at a weight when I felt my most triumphant.  I was curious if that feeling would return too.

It has.

It’s taken me just less than two months to lose 11 pounds so I’m giving myself two months to lose 11.1 pounds and see 199.9.

Onederland…you’re mine.Goals Quote

 

 

Four Months–The End, The Beginning, But Really Barely The Middle

Yeah, I know that makes one huge heap of sense.  Please allow me to explain.

The End: I have decided to fire my surgery practice.  I’ll try to give you the Cliff’s Notes style story.  My surgeon repaired a hiatal hernia and despite me asking no less than six times, in and out of the hospital, I was NEVER informed and therefore received no aftercare instructions or alterations to the diet plan.  I only found out when I received a bill for charges not covered by the insurance company.  Then last week there was a HIPPA violation when I was sent a lab order for another patient.  If I wasn’t already fuming, that sent me to my outer orbit.  There’s just no amount of anything that is going to make this right.  It means I have to give up my AMAZING nutritionist and that almost makes me want to collapse into a pile of tears.  She’s helped me more than anyone in my whole nearly 13 year weight loss story.  However, the irony is by all appearances the hernia repair has been a failure since the moment I started asking about it.  I’ll be having a barium swallow and complete upper GI series next week to confirm it.

The old me would have just swept this all under the rug but the new me keeps asking myself: “What are the consequences to your progress if you try to hold on to this obviously broken situation?”  I don’t want to find out.  I have spent the past few months ‘fixing’ myself of all the moments I tried to puzzle together the good bits and doing my best to tip-toe around the bad ones.  The best part of all of this is I feel zero need to fix it.  It’s broken.  I didn’t break it so it’s not up to me to run around trying to make it all better.  End of story.

The Beginning: I want to draw my line in the sand and move forward.  Four months ago today I drew a different line in the sand when I had surgery.  It’s not like I can go back and change it, right?  So my job is to continue to move forward.  Today is a different sort of new beginning.  My only concern about moving forward is losing my nutritionist.  Oh I have the food part down and she even agrees.  The scary part is I have a weird body and she’s known exactly how to fix it.  No one has been able to do that for me.  Ever!  I have 12 years of diet failure so it’s not like I haven’t been begging and pleading for help all along the way either.  Fortunately, I have also learned a lot.  I know how to fuel my body.  I just need to hold on to the hope that God and the Universe will continue to place the helpers I might need in my path…and to not go crazy waiting for them to show up.  Today, I am moving forward all alone and all for me.

Barely The Middle:  Here’s the truth: I am two months shy of the halfway point on what is often referred to as the “Golden Window” by many bariatric specialists and patients.  The Golden Window is that magical first year where everything is easy–metaphorically–meaning the bulk of the excess weight comes off as long as the patient is doing her, or his, part.  Sure there are bumps along the way but the first year is very similar to the rapid change in the life of an infant.  Growth. Milestones.  I am not about to let anyone fuck with it.  This is my journey dammit.  My goals haven’t changed.  Of course, it has been feeling like everything is upside down but after a few moments of wildflower therapy on top of a gorgeous mountain it all became clear: I am upset about what happened…not where I have been or where I am going.  Huge difference.  My choice then is to let all the past die where it is and focus on MY GOALS!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh there will be fallout as the surgeon discovers what has happened because in my absolute heart of hearts I cannot imagine he knows but that fallout is the natural consequences running their course.  My goals are independent of the outcome…

Wait, how did I get this strong…

July Goals?

A few weeks ago I joined several Facebook support groups.  I just felt, and feel, like I need to be connected to other weight loss surgery people right now.  Where I am not close enough to my surgeon’s office to attend the support group, I figured this is the next best thing.

Today, one of the group leaders posted:

“What are you July goals?”

My answer was:

“To forget June ever happened.”

Mentally, physically, emotionally…June was just a big, ol’ huge vat of disappointment and frustration…and s-l-o-w weight loss.

How slow?

Slow enough it was my pre-op normal.

Yes, I have let the irony of me being flustered by losing at my pre-op rate sink all the way through my consciousness.

And, do you know what conclusion I arrived at?

My pre-op body and my post-op body are definitely not the same so I need to stop marking my journey now with those outdated signposts.

The truth is…Right now my body is NOT optimized.

Period.

No fussing.  No whining.  No rationalization.

And, it’s July now so how much longer am I going to be circling the drain about what a disappointment June was?

So am I okay with my glibly made goal to erase June from memory?

Uhh, noooooooooooooo.

Here’s my July goal:

20-25g of fiber daily

That’s it.

My new multivitamin pill is not being kind to my system so I need to make sure I am doing everything I can to keep my system running smoothly.

Not being able to buy my vitamin patches is one problem that is only exacerbated by not consuming enough fiber.

Besides, I am at the point where I have a really good handle on everything else except fiber.  When I scroll back through my food journal and when I am honest with myself, it is the one area I, as the controller of all things which enter my body, have slacked on.

Oh I can bitch about my supplement delivery method all I want but until I take accountability for consuming enough fiber I am not doing my body–or my attitude–any favors.

I am just complaining.

That is not me.

I am a woman of action.

That is my truth…and I am grateful a support group leader posed the question so I could knock some sense back into myself.

Sure, it feels lame to count fiber grams but it is always better than feeling gross and bloated because my plumbing isn’t up to plumb.

Pity party over.

Time to get back to me.IMG_8209