WLS Cooking without Sacrifice

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I’ve been doing a lot more cooking for myself lately, as after surgery, going out to eat isn’t very cost-effective because I don’t eat much, so dinner usually ends up as leftovers, and then the leftovers usually go bad–although I am getting better at the whole concept of bringing lunch to work.

Luckily, there’s a lot of great ways to get protein in these days–shakes, powders, bars, and regular old food that I never used to eat anymore (yogurt anyone?). That said, there’s a lot of foods that I can’t eat anymore–namely pastas and breads…or do I thought!! Bread is still an only sometimes food, and usually, I end up taking the bread off of whatever it is I’m eating (ie burger, sandwich) and eat the inside. Pasta, however….

As much as I hate Barilla for their homophobic comments of a few years ago, they make a fantastic product called Barilla ProteinPlus. At 17 grams of protein per 3.5 oz serving is awesome for pasta. Now, I’m not eating it every day of the week, but if Anthony and I are in the mood for pasta, you can have some with your main meal and not feel guilty.

Another way to not feel guilty is to find where you can cut corners without sacrificing taste. For instance, tonight for dinner, I made creamy garlic Parmesan pasta with chicken. The recipe calls for 1.5 cups of whole milk. Instead of using whole milk, I used 1 cup fat-free Lactaid and 1/2 cup fat free Half and Half. It’s just as creamy and delicious as it would’ve been with whole milk, but with significantly less fat. Thanks to the addition of chicken, protein pasta, and milk I was able to get around 35oz of protein in for dinner–that’s almost half of my recommended daily intake of protein (80-100oz).

One of the most important things you can do as a WLS patient (or someone who is trying to cut out fat/carbs/whatever) is experiment. There are PLENTY of websites out there for low fat/low carb recipes (Pinterest anyone?) that even if you don’t follow a recipe from one of those websites, you can still take the basic ideas and modify your own favorite recipes.

Do you have any favorite ways of modding recipes to make them a bit more healthy? Let me know–I’m always looking for suggestions!!!

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A Letter to My Last-Year Self

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Dear Amy,

You are on the precipice of greatness.

There you sit, 292 pounds of sass, contemplating your next move.  You know big changes are afoot, but trust me when I tell you that you have no idea how big. In the next year, you’re going to experience some amazing highs, but also some major lows. You’re going to become intimately familiar with the feelings of worry and self-doubt. You’re going to spend many sleepless nights wondering where this crazy roller coaster  is going to take you and whether the on-ride picture is going to be worth purchasing at the end.

It’s worth it–trust me on this one.

You aren’t going to believe me when I say it, but it’s true. In one year, you’re going to lose 70 pounds, but you’re going to gain so much more. You’re going to gain whole new levels of self respect, determination, and confidence. You’re going to amaze your friends and family, who are going to sing your praises. They’re going to tell you countless times how amazing you look. They’re going to be more supportive than you ever could have hoped or dreamed. They’re going to build you up every step of the way.

You’re going to have a friendly competition with your father over who weighs less. You’re going to hear your mother tell you how you’ve surprised her with your ability to stick to your diet plan and continue to shed the pounds week after week. You’re going to shock your sister by bringing her a pair of pants that are just too big to take in. You’re going to hear your husband lament the fact that your ass is getting smaller one minute, then turn around and marvel about his ability to actually feel your hip bones the next. You’re going to relish telling people how much you weigh because they’re going to be so happy for you. You’re going to have to say goodbye to some favorite outfits, but you’re going to find a whole new sense of style that’s been hiding beneath layers of fat and self-consciousness.

But most importantly, you’re going to amaze yourself. You’re going to wake up one morning, realize you haven’t weighed yourself in a while, and find that you dropped 15 pounds in two weeks without even trying. You’re going to be excited about protein powder and protein bars. You’re going to fall into the routine of eating leftovers–and actually enjoying them! You’re going to live a life without bread and pasta, and you know what? You’re going to realize that you don’t miss them all that much (and you can totally have a Junior turkey hoagie from Wawa once in a while, since you won’t be able to eat the whole thing anyway). You’re going to run out of pants that fit, but you know what? You’re going to be ecstatic about it.

2015 is going to be the year that everything changes. You’re going to become determined, you’re going to become healthy, and most importantly, you’re going to become happy.

Keep your chin up, sunshine–you’re getting brighter and brighter every day.

Love always,

Amy