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Next chapter: life in the fat lane

Eight weeks since surgery… 29 months since starting the Bariatric weight loss program… and the first Thanksgiving / Christmas season in twenty years that I haven’t gained weight. In fact, I’ve lost a total of 92 pounds since starting the program. No it hasn’t been easy – but it’s been worth every minute because I have more energy now than I’ve ever thought would be possible for me at the age of 63.

It’s been a month since I last shared what I can eat and in this time I’ve progressed to stage four of five levels, which means I am now able to eat a poached egg and a quarter of a slice of dry toast for breakfast, two ounces of tuna fish for lunch and a yogurt for dinner. I’m stilling drinking two low-calorie protein drinks such as Ensure or Boost a day as well as an ounce of low-fat cheese for a snack in the morning and afternoon. I end the day with a two ounce cup of unsweetened applesauce. Basically I’m eating or drinking something every two hours while also trying to drink 60 ounces of water.

I do find it ironic, though, that for someone who wanted to stop thinking or obsessing about food must now spend my every waking moment eating or drinking something. But of course in a much smaller, healthier and mindful way.

The question most people ask me is whether or not I’m craving the problem foods that I mentioned before such as chocolate, soda, or fast food. Surprisingly, I’m not. I do crave flavor, though, and would love to have a bowl of Polish soup from Orawa. 

The first week in December I was released by the surgeon and was told I could start exercising and had no restrictions. So in keeping with my usual let’s go overboard mindset, I came home and raked the yard and started decorating for Christmas. Three days later I was back in the doctor’s office convinced I had ripped open everything and doubled over in pain. Of course, I hadn’t, for “If you had ripped the sutures apart, you’d already be dead,” said the doctor.

Luckily, I’d only pulled a couple of the muscles that go across the surgery area and was ordered to put the gardening tools away until next spring. I see the doctor again in January and hope to start a regular exercise program then.

What’s been the best part of this journey so far? It would be the surprised and happy look on my grandson’s face when he realized that his grandma could go for a walk, build a snowman, shoot a basketball and still had the energy to build a track for his trains, read a book, play a video game and make him the best peanut butter and Nutella sandwich ever.  And the joy of that moment far surpasses any pleasure I ever felt while consuming an entire bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

So what’s next? By the end of the first week in January I should be able to eat baked chicken and fish, cooked vegetables, raw and skinned apples, bananas and grapes. I still have to chew everything to the point that there’s almost nothing left to resemble the item that was on my plate. I’m even using a small child’s plate.  I won’t be able to eat pasta, red meat or shell fish for a year. 

But that’s okay too. Because next year on my birthday I want to go sky diving, fishing, hiking, jump tall buildings in a single bound and be faster than a speeding bullet because one four-year-old little boy thinks I’m the best grandma ever!

 Ginger Costen writes a monthly column for the Yankee Shopper. She is a resident of Webster.