What is Hungry

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Today marks 4 weeks since my mini gastric bypass surgery.  You could call it a milestone, but really it’s just another date in that process.  Since that time, life’s thrown some unexpected, un-surgery related curveballs at me which made the “healing” process more difficult to say the least.  For instance, I had requested that during the month following the surgery I not travel for work – either by air, or by car.  I had planned to huddle into a hotel in Worcester, MA and support a plant during a run.  Instead, I ended up striking out on a decent priced, dog-friendly hotel and have been commuting 100 miles round trip every day.  That is except for the two days I spent flying down to Dallas and back for a meeting … and the weekend I had to make an emergency visit to Los Angeles.

The real challenge of the last two weeks is just trying to feel good consistently.   I’m not saying that from a standpoint that this new digestive tract is making me sick, but realizing that it is what I do to that tract that makes me sick.

Two weeks ago, my diet was allowed to change.  Previously it was strictly: broths, yogurt, crackers, and sports drinks.  Now, softer foods can start coming into play, like mashed potatoes, eggs, cheese, beans, etc.  Sure that opens up for variety, but there will be things that will not go down well.  So everything I eat becomes an experiment – but not that fun kind of experiment where you taste something and say ‘eww’.  When I eat something that doesn’t agree with me, I don’t get that feedback until later – sometimes a couple minutes, sometimes a half hour later.  Then again, it may be short lived, it may be hours.  What’s worse is that it comes in different disguises … nausea, gas, stomach cramps, or in the worst (yet all to common) cases – “speedy and fluid departure from Exit #2”.

What I realized this week was that half my problems had as much to do with when I ate it.

One of the big challenges with people like me who fought obesity most our lives is that we struggle with the whole concept of hunger.   Studies have shown all of eat for four conditions: Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, Tired.  Like the rest of you, those of us that struggle eat when we are hungry, but that just doesn’t happen that often. We are way more likely to eat for the other reasons — and in some cases it overcomes negativity like any other addictive trait.   So when I got ‘Hungry’ it was strange, and in some cases really scary.

These days, I am not sure what it feels like to be hungry.  That is to say — Hungry now doesn’t feel like Hungry before.  Stomach feels empty, but there is no metal trigger that pushes me to eat.

So what’s the problem with that?  Well …  If I don’t eat when I am hungry, I get gassy & get acid reflux.  So when I do eat, thinks taste metallic or acidic; which keeps me from eating at all … which makes the gassy acidic feelings worse.

Of course, if I eat BEFORE I am hungry, it leads to stomach cramps, hiccups, sometimes spit ups, and … the dreaded quick exit #2.

That’s what makes this ‘hunger’ thing a big challenge.  Not that I have to just eat when I am hungry and not eat when I am not hungry.  But I have to figure out what all of that feels like.  Getting it wrong makes me feel worse, and getting it right makes me feel … well … normal enough that I don’t notice I got it right.

But if you are wondering – it is working.  I feel physically better every day.  I had a day or two recently when I felt more energetic than I had in months/years (then life through me another f-ing curve ball and I huddled up into bed for a hours).    And in my weekly weigh-in I just came in at a hair above 40lbs lost since the surgery (officially at 39.7lbs).  I hadn’t  started an exercise routine yet, but that’s what New Years Resolutions are for, right?

That’s the update for now.  Hopefully, next few posts will be a little more non-surgery stuff.

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