Three weeks have blown by since my surgery day. I'm now eating soft foods and working on getting my protein and other nutrients from food instead of relying on protein shakes. I still have a protein shake every day for breakfast to get a good start on the day with about 1/2 of my protein goal right off the bat. But through the day I'm working toward small regular meals with protein to meet my nutrition needs. It's a slow progression, but it's been steady, and I still have no complications. (knock on wood)
One of the things I found when I researched the gastric sleeve procedure is that most people lose their hunger drives and cravings. I was convinced, however, that I would be the one person this didn't work for. I'm happy to report that this was not the case. I have to set reminders on my phone to eat and drink because I just don't get the same hunger signals I used to. This has caused a sea change in the way I see food.
I wish I had grown up with a healthy relationship to food. For a number of reasons, I didn't. I know I’m not alone internalizing moral judgments about food - vegetables are "good," ice cream is "bad" for example. And of course, the biggie - if you're overweight you're lazy, have no self-control, and are "bad". There are lots of theories as to why our society imposes and reinforces these moral judgments about food. I don't really care why, I just need to get those voices in my head to shut up.
Here's where the beauty of this procedure comes into play. The messed up food voices are still in my head, but I no longer confuse them for physical hunger or cravings. After I was cleared for soft foods, the Mister and I went to the grocery store. Immediately, I was attracted to this amazing smell from the produce section and tracked it down to the nectarine display. I have HUGE food issues going back to childhood and have severe anxiety when trying to eat anything out of my comfort zone. I can't tell you if I had EVER actually tried a nectarine. We bought a couple, and they were pretty good. (They'd be better with granola or in a cobbler than by themselves in my book, but really pretty good.) This is something that would NEVER have happened before. Then we walked past the Little Debbie display. Now, Little Debbies, specifically the honey buns, have been my downfall for a long time. I'd clear out a whole box of them in 2 days before. The messed up voice in my head said "oooh, Little Debbies. That would count as soft foods. We should get some." Then the part of my brain that imagined actually eating one went, "eh. Doesn't sound that good." Walked by with no issues. Same thing happened with the Pop Tart section on the next aisle. (Chocolate Fudge Pop Tarts were another gotcha for me in the past.) It was incredible.
I don't know if this effect will last forever. But if it lasts long enough to help me establish a different relationship with food, it will be so very much worth it. I think I could have gotten there with enough time and therapy, and admit that surgery is a drastic solution. However, it's working so much better than I could have wished for. It's still too early to say "best decision I ever made" but the evidence is racking up pretty fast for it.