Now that I’m two years post-op I’m hitting the point…
Since my gastric bypass surgery I have a new way in which I have to order and coordinate my eating and drinking water. There are two mechanisms left over from the surgery that make these life long behaviour changes necessary.
The first is the restrictive element in terms of the size of the stomach. My tummy is so small post-op that if I eat and drink together I can’t get enough food in. For this reason I have to wait for 30 minutes before and after eating to drink any fluid. On the times I have tried it because who doesn’t break the rules occasionally, it hasn’t felt good and has given me issues with food and pain so I stick to this rule like glue now.
Also if I was able to eat and drink at the same time without it being uncomfortable it can very easily help you put just that little bit extra in your tummy each time and could partly be the cause of stretching the tummy back out if you were persistent enough. Separating out food and fluid was the hardest behavioural change I had to make in the run up to and following bariatric surgery because they used to go hand in hand for me.
Another reason to keep them separate is because they way I have been reconfigured I no longer have the valve at the bottom of my tummy that decides when things move from the tummy into the intestine. This means that if things are a too slippery or watery consistency it easier for them to pass through the opening and the tummy can and will empty quicker.
I’m lucky that I’m over 16 months out from surgery and I haven’t had hunger return yet (but this is getting to the point of being unusual). If I did and I was mixing eating and drinking and emptying my tummy quicker it would be harder to stick to my no snacking rule.
I need to drink 2-3L of fluid (predominantly water) a day and I have daily goals of when I need to drink X amount by so I can monitor it throughout the day and know If I am wildly off in terms of keeping up. I like to have drunk a whole 750ml bottle (sometimes I can manage two) by lunchtime. Then in the afternoon I aim to drink another whole one. Then in the evening I will start on my third and usually drink all of that too.
Add in a coffee, my morning protein shake and something else (on the rare occasion I do) and then I have easily drunk the fluid I need nicely spaced out over the day. I try not to drink more than 300ml an hour because of not wanting to get too much in my tummy at once and stretching it out.
I am well and truly used to this rule now and manage it quite easily by having fairly set times for meals so that it’s automatic when to stop drinking. It does become problematic at times though for example when we are at someone else’s house for dinner and dinner is much earlier or later than estimated. I can end up missing out on valuable fluid drinking time if the times are out by too much and after an hour of not drinking anything my body is starting to want water again.
This is also a great source of amusement for me though as even my family still offer me drinks with food on a regular basis. I find cafés and restaurants often take a lot of convincing that I’m fine just with what I want to eat and don’t want a drink. Some places will bring me a glass of water and I feel bad not drinking it because they are just trying to be nice but what’s a girl to do?
I’m struggling to be as good with getting all of my fluids in every day over winter as when it’s colder I find it harder to drink as much water. I prefer water cold over room temperature and its hard drinking cold water when you are already freezing (thanks post-op metabolism!) I am making the effort lately and having these goals helps me to meet my fluid goals more days than not.
How do you manage you daily fluid intake? Are you great at getting it all in every day or is it a constant struggle? Tell me your habits in the comments section I’d love to know how you manage this aspect of post-op weight loss surgery life.