Weight Loss Without a Gallbladder?

Dum Aloo or Dum Paul!?!

Despite being fat, unfit, a smoker, & generally an excellent candidate for all the diseases of western civilization, I’ve done pretty well. Short of an unusual incident, or an occasional accident, I have managed to avoid hospitals for most of my life. It was a little cruel that I found myself curled up, on the ground, in the parking lot in one of Canada’s favourite coffee shops, during the first day of me enjoying a couple of vacation days with the family. Fortunately, these coffee shops are well located in the heart of things, so there was a walk-in medical clinic on one side. And an EMS station on the other.

With some assistance, I made it to the walk-in clinic & immediately assumed the fetal position again. On the floor again. That disrupted things a little but one look & the doctor put out the call for the ambulance. The EMS team arrived in minutes & I was on my way to hospital shortly after. Under less painful circumstances, I might have enjoyed the Code 1 ride, lights flashing & sirens a wailing. Not so much this time. Thanks & kudos to those folk who do the ambulance thing for us, by the way. They were great.

Despite how much I know about what my pancreas does for me, from a dietary perspective, I don’t always treat it well. And while I’d certainly heard of this condition: pancreatitis, along the way, I never paused to learn much about it. After all, it didn’t apply to me, did it? It did now. And it hurt. A lot!

Long story short, after 8 days in hospital, I went home, leaving my gallbladder behind in some garbage can. I’m not sure I made the right call in going ahead with the surgery. And though there were people there with far more serious conditions than mine, I still felt sorry for myself. I’m sad that I lost my gallbladder. I miss it!

But how is the lack of a gallbladder going to impact my way of eating? My diet? My weight loss efforts?

There are varying reports on the impact that this very common (too common?) procedure can have on our lives. Most reports seem pretty benign. From a cursory look, it seems like the recommendations for what to eat after the surgery are as confused as the “best diet” recommendations for our general health & well-being. My biggest fears were that I would no longer be able to tolerate hot & spicy foods. And worse, I might not be able to tolerate fatty meals.

Never one to shirk a challenge, I begged for my first home-cooked meal to be hot & spicy … a seasoned-to-kill Dum Aloo! It crossed my mind that it was a little unusual for me to avoid meat, but that’s what I wanted.

And the result?

I survived! Since then, I’ve tried a few high fat meals. Including bacon & eggs, with cheesy home fries … mmmmm! I’m very conscious of not having that big shot of bile available to attack the fat but otherwise, I seemed to tolerate it reasonably well. There are some weird little aches & pains hanging around my midriff but I’m not sure if that’s just the physical healing after surgery. Or if I’m inducing them with my crazy food choices. I also decided to do a big bread day. There was no logical reason why, but I was hoping that I was miraculously cured of my typically poor reaction to eating bread. I wasn’t. And that was a really bad idea!

So now, I’d like things to carry on healing. I hope they didn’t leave a tea spoon inside me. And, maybe in a couple or so days, I’ll get back to the grind of weight loss … without a gallbladder! Fingers crossed, all will be well.

If you are living life without a gallbladder, let me know how it’s going for you.

5 Ways to Prevent Weight Rebound

5 Ways to Prevent Weight Rebound

Vanilla Cinnamon Pancake made with eggs & cream cheese!

If you just can’t take another day of dieting, try these 5 things see if they help avoid a rebound. And that horrible feeling that comes when we step on that lying, cheating scale the morning after falling off the wagon!

I’ve been struggling the past couple of months & these little tricks have helped keep me treading water. I hope they continue to work ’til spring finally decides to arrive.

  1. Eat more fat. I tend to choose fattier cuts of meat & add more pan-fried foods to my diet. Topping my greens with butter helps too. Keto & low-carb adherents will know the value of a fat bomb. Little treats that we can stuff into our faces without fear of disrupting that venerable state of ketosis. Who cares if fat has the most calories. If it stops us going through another self-destruct phase, it’s worth it. And we just might be lucky enough to carry on losing a little while we seek comfort in eating more fat. If that doesn’t work, and …
  2. When I feel like I just can’t carry on … then I don’t! Whatever diet I’m on, I try doing the opposite. On a low-carb diet? Go all carbs for a day. Or three. Sounds like heresy but it can work. If I feel guilty about it, I can make healthy choices, like broccoli, sprouts, or cabbage. Flavorful additions like garlic & onion don’t even count, right! I stir-fry these in my favorite fat. And eat ’til I’m ready to burst. This is my “Vaguely Vegetarian” routine. I try not to eat a slab of meat on such days. Maybe a tiny few bacon bits. Just for the flavor! Sometimes, I go all starch with my choices, like home-fried potatoes. A day or two eating nothing but fried potatoes or fried rice (but, sadly, not bread for me) can soothe the soul. Yes, I may see a blip on the scale next morning but likely not on subsequent mornings. Once the liver & muscle tissue is loaded with the stored form of glucose, & the necessary water that accompanies that, it’s difficult to add much more. And it usually flies off again, once I go back to low-carb. If the first two suggestions are scary, why not …
  3. Go with the creep. But cautiously. Dessert can often be a lure for those of us on a low-carb or keto regimen. And those fat bombs don’t always work for us. In fact, they’re sickening sometimes. But adding some berries doesn’t add a huge amount to the glycemic load. So I make my own ice cream! I add heavy whipping cream to a cup of frozen berries & blend. I mostly add some dark chocolate (70% is about as dark as I can tolerate & still enjoy) for chocolate chip ice cream. Very delicious & quite addictive but it can keep me going during difficult times.
  4. Pattern disruption can help too. My problem time is in the evening. On the couch. Can you relate? Skinny people tell me to just get off the couch but this is not always easy to do. Sometimes, I need help from the nuttier parts of my mind. Early in the day, when I’m most motivated & strong, I’ll place something on the couch. Maybe a suitcase, to remind me of an upcoming trip that I want to look good for. Or simply to take up all the room on the seat so I can’t sit! When it gets near my crash & relax time, that suitcase reminds me of how enthusiastic I felt that morning. And it helps me focus on finding something else to do. Somewhere else to be. Leaving a suitcase on my couch isn’t a long-term solution, but it can help me do some different things. And pattern disruption, even when not directly related to food, can often help develop some new, sometimes more positive, patterns. A new pattern might include …
  5. Going for therapy! While it may well help, I’m not suggesting that we all go book an appointment with our favorite therapist. Instead, I try shinrin-yoku! This is “forest bathing”, Japanese style. It sounds like a mystical thing but it was only studied & given this name in the 80s. It is a practice of communing with nature, gently ambling through the forest. Regardless of diet & weight loss challenges, it proved to be of great benefit for our general health & well-being. I like water therapy too. I like to spend a little time by the ocean, a lake, or a stream. Though at this time of year, in my neck of the woods, the blackflies & noseeums do their best to suggest I go elsewhere! And that’s okay too. Because I might visit my favorite coffee shop (for coffee only!), the local library, or take a walk in the mall. I may even just sit on the porch & say hello to the neighbors. And their dogs. I just added riding a loop of the local transit system to my list. It doesn’t matter what we do, just getting up & going out is the thing. Interacting with nature & humanity, even just a little, can do wonders for the soul. And we can but hope that the body comes along for the ride!

If you have any suggestions on strategies that have worked for you, & that might help keep me on the straight & narrow … please pass them along in the comments section. The comments link is just under the post title.

Results … Month #10

Results … Month #10

Recovering from a fall!

Made an amazing new discovery this past month … it looks like it’s more difficult to lose 8lbs, than it was to gain that 8lbs in the first place!

Who knew!?!

After last month’s disaster, I wasn’t all that optimistic coming into the new month. It was the first time since I started this whole exercise where I felt that I really might have to force myself to “go on a real diet”. Considering I was going into the 10th month of the program, I was a little taken aback by that thought. Fortunately, it didn’t last long, & I was back to testing & tweaking again, within 3 or 4 days.

“Testing & tweaking” is how I try to add credibility to the act of me trying to figure out how to eat more bad stuff & not pile on the pounds. One of the new foods I tried this month was coconut sugar. It’s supposed to have a few less calories, a slightly lower glycemic load, a few more nutrients, & some other good stuff, like inulin, when compared to regular sugar. One of the best ways to test a sugar is by adding it to something that tastes nice … like cheesecake!

The cheesecake was pretty good. The darker color of coconut sugar gives the finished product a light caramel color. Makes it look like something far more wicked than it is. Not that a cake made of full fat cheese & sugar isn’t already a little wicked. Turns out it doesn’t behave quite like a glass of iced water when it comes to weight control. But, then, a life without cheesecake just wouldn’t be right, would it!?!

Bottom line is that I still haven’t recovered all of that 8lb gain from the previous month. But knocking off 4.4lbs for this month isn’t too bad. Besides, I generally didn’t feel up to working too hard at it. So it’s a bit like I got an almost-free 4.4lb pass for the past few weeks. Maybe this new month is the month where spring will finally be sprung. Maybe I’ll get rid of the rest of that rebound. And maybe we’ll soon get to those warmer months where I can start testing the dietary value of beer & wine on the deck. In the company of the little birdies, flapping & twittering around the treetops!

Roll on summer. Aaaahhhh!

PS … The cheesecake diet, even when the cheesecake is made with coconut sugar, will probably not become the next hot diet for rapid weight loss! 🙂

Easter Eggs, Bunnies & Piggies

Easter Eggs, Bunnies & Piggies

Ever wish you liked tea!

If you check in on this blog for weight-loss tips, this is probably not the best month to do it! When I was a kid, the best part of Lent was getting fish ‘n’ chips on Fridays. My rebelliousness has only grown with age!

Though now, with Easter behind us, I wish fish ‘n’ chips was the worst choice I made over the Easter holiday. Sadly, I must confess to a little indulgence in the commercial chocolate-fest that is the product marketer’s version of Easter too!

Though to be fair, I tried to be good while I was being bad. The eggs on offer weren’t free range so I decided to go with the healthier wild game option … I ate chocolate bunnies!!! Unfortunately, they were milk chocolate. So help me, I never realized that ’til I was on the 4th one. 🙂

This month, I was hoping to reverse some of last month’s gains. But spring can’t make up it’s mind whether it’s sprung, or not. Skies are grey, drizzle is constant, the morning fog is thick. Even the trees can’t decide if they should bud. An occasional good day makes me believe. And then it’s all snatched away again.

I wonder why there are only chocolate eggs, ducks & bunnies for Easter?

Are chocolate piggies too big a marketing challenge!!!

Bento’s Take on Weight Loss

Bento’s Take on Weight Loss

Anchor

What’s Weighing Us Down?

I ran into Bento at the pub the other night. Bento is an old friend of mine & he often has a quirky take on things. Sometimes, Bento’s view of things can give me pause for thought.

He was rambling on about how remarkably similar American politics are, to what Irish politics were in the old days. This was all by way of him complaining about winter dragging on & he mused out loud (with the odd expletive to accent an important point): was spring ever going to arrive? Bento wondered if he could get away with saying that his father was born in a warm country somewhere? The idea being that he could claim citizenship there, without all the usual bother, & just head off to the sun for a few months ’til things warmed up. Modern politics gave you great freedom & flexibility these days, he thought.

Bento’s meandering tone, as he muses, has a way of making you believe the unbelievable.

Almost mid-sentence, he asked me why I was trying to lose weight!

He continued …

“Aren’t you better off just enjoying yourself, Paul?”

“It’s not like you’re out night-clubbing & chasing women or anything, is it? And even if you were, sure couldn’t you just find a woman that might like a nice fat fella, like yourself?”

Bento doesn’t necessarily always run his thoughts through a filter to make you feel any better about some particular challenge you might have.

“Is it the health?”, he quizzed aloud.

Not expecting me to fill the silence with what I thought, no answer was required. He then went on to reminisce about a few of our friends who had gone to the great pub in the sky. Undeservedly & well before their time, Bento adjudicated.

“You won’t be running any four-minute miles in the few years you have left, will you?”

Another question that he would undoubtedly answer for me. I sipped my pint. Again. Despite his silent pauses, there was no point interrupting him while he was in flow.

“You’d be better off doing things you’d like to be doing.”, he opines. Him looking up, under raised eyebrows, at me. The creamy froth of the pint still on his top lip. Then promptly removed with a practiced twist of the bottom one.

“And then maybe you’d spend less time thinking about what you would & wouldn’t like to eat, wouldn’t you?”

He’s different. But sometimes, Bento has a way of recognizing the anchor below the still surface of the water.

I was missing dinner. We had another pint. Bento carried on musing. All very enjoyable.

Down about a pound & a half this morning!