My husband is a disabled veteran and a few months back, we were told about a local Veteran’s Food Pantry that he is eligible for but due to circumstances beyond our control, this was the first month we could get there. As the wife of a veteran, I’ve gotten used to paying all of the bills at the beginning of the month when the money comes in and waiting to get groceries til they have all cleared. The last quarter of the year is usually more difficult because of 3 holidays – 4 if you count Halloween – AND it seems like everything that CAN go wrong does, especially in December!
While I hoped 2016 was going to be different, it’s hasn’t been. I had set aside a small amount of money to give to hubby to Christmas shop with and even asked our youngest son to drive him, as well as a few dollars to finish buying Christmas dinner with. All we had to do was get it done. Well, Old Man Winter and Mother Nature are on the outs again and Northwestern New York is getting the brunt of their disputes. We’ve been dumped on for snow several days already and we’re only in the middle of the month! The last storm that hit left almost a foot of snow in the driveway. When hubby went out to blow snow, the tractor wouldn’t start. He put the battery charger on the tractor thinking the cold dragged it down but it didn’t work. He called the place where we got the tractor and was told we needed to buy a new battery. There went ALL of the money I had set aside… I started praying for the funds to at least get a small ham for dinner.
We got to the Veteran’s Food Pantry today and there were all these BIKERS there! I was beginning to think we were in the wrong place then realized they were Volunteers! We had some paperwork to fill out because we were newbies but everything seemed to run like a well-oiled machine. A volunteer walked with us and explained how things were done. Shelves were marked telling exactly how many of each item could be chosen. We started with canned goods and progressed through boxed items and more. Tucked between the shelved items and several tables piled high with different flavors of Ramen Noodles was a grocery cart with small boneless hams in it. I saw it and immediately heard the voice of the enemy say – “Those aren’t for you. You’ll be passed over.” – and even though I’m a practicing Christian, my heart sank. As we neared the cart, the volunteer said – “Take a ham.” – and I nearly burst into tears right there! I also clearly hear the voice of the Lord say – “All you have to do is have Faith in Me, I’ve got you covered. Just keep believing!” I also heard the Lord tell the devil that I was His and that he wasn’t going to win this time… I heard “Just keep believing” over and over again while we were there.
Hubby needed to use the restroom so I stayed with the FOUR large bags of groceries trying to check the tears that kept threatening to spill over. At one point, my darling husband noticed and asked me if I was going to cry. I was honest and said I was fighting tears and started explaining as we walked out of the building. We got to the car and I continued telling him what I’d experienced and how I was feeling. He got quiet so I know my words had an impact on him as well
We were treated with the utmost respect, no personal questions were asked and I felt extremely blessed when we left.
Thank you Lord for the gentle reminder!
As I sit here eating a leftover homemade meatball with some meat sauce and a little mozzarella cheese, I think back to not so very long ago when my dish would have been piled high with the cheesy pasta bake that I made my guys for dinner tonight.
When I was stirring it up, my inner child (whom I named Missy because that was what my Gram called me when I was in trouble), started whining that she wanted a bite. I could hear her clearly – “What will ONE BITE hurt? Come on! You love it and you know it!” When I’m ALONE and she starts in, I speak to her out loud but because hubby sometimes looks at me like I’ve lost my mind, I thought better of that! LOL I ignored her and continued stirring, then put it into the oven to heat through. When it came out, she started anew but again, I ignored her. She doesn’t like being ignored and will often step up her efforts but tonight, she tried a different tactic instead. As I was making garlic bread, she whined again – “Can I at least have a piece of garlic bread then???” I looked over the pieces and answered in my best “Mom voice” – “We’ll see…”
When the bread came out of the oven, I looked it over again and found the SMALLEST, THINNEST, CRISPEST piece I could find and CUT IT IN HALF!!! It was 3 bites of Heaven and Missy shut up!
Since I’m working on maintaining instead of actively losing, I allow myself a few carbs here and there and because I KNOW that pasta physically HURTS me but I can eat a slice of toast, I ate what I knew would be better for me. That’s not to say that I’m always that good because there are some foods that I can still “mindlessly eat”. I just have to NOT buy them!!! I know my limits and seldom stray from them because I thoroughly DISLIKE feeling sick or actually being sick.
As a former morbidly obese person – I used to weigh 325 pounds and I’m 4’10” tall – who had RNY bariatric surgery on March 16, 2015, I’m STILL amazed by the fact that I don’t FEEL hungry – EVER! My head tells me I should eat, my body says – WHY???
Early on, I discovered if I forget to eat, I get “foggy brained” feeling, almost like a low blood sugar – hard to concentrate, sometimes shaky, etc. I also noticed when that happens that I hear odd noises and feel a weird sensation with every bite I take, almost like my tummy is grumbling like it used to before surgery when I was truly hungry.
Do many people know what true hunger is though? I learned through research and experimentation when I went through a mindful eating phase called The Dallas Doctor’s Diet – where I did not eat unless I was TRULY hungry. I honestly believe if I’d stayed with that program, I MIGHT have lost much more than the 55 pounds I did but I got bored and stopped.
That’s something about surgery, you can get bored eating the same things because they sit well in your pouch or sleeve but you CANNOT stop without undoing what you had surgery for to begin with! Surgery isn’t a “Magic Fix” it’s a TOOL that, unless it’s utilized correctly, was a total waste of time and money. The bariatric patients that push to get it done fast are more prone to failing than the ones who had to work for it. I had to work hard for 4 months to EARN the surgical clearance and used that time wisely. I called it “getting serious” and serious it was! I started practicing eating like I’d already had the surgery way before I got it and it worked for me. The HEAD HUNGER, the memories of beloved things from my pre-surgery days are a constant battle, one I don’t believe I can ever NOT fight because I know I don’t want to go back to the person I was.
I honestly believe if I’d listened to my old high school Health teacher and chewed every bite 30 times, I would not have had to re-learn that later. Bariatric patients NEED to chew EVERY BITE thoroughly – to the consistency of applesauce – to allow our permanently altered systems to absorb every nutrient it can. We need to NOT drink with meals because liquids flushes the tiny amounts of food we take in right back out. Personally, I’ve never had an issue drinking with meals because I was raised NOT TO. My Gram didn’t even put glasses on the table for meals because she felt we needed to EAT not drink. My BIGGEST hurdle was/is waiting 30 minutes AFTER the last bite because as soon as the meal was over, we got a drink growing up. I still have to look at the time and make a mental note of when I can drink or I mess that up to this day.
Another very real struggle is eating too fast. I still find if I’m busy, I want to scarf and run and I can’t do that and feel good. Eating too fast gives me the foamies or worse makes me vomit.
Did you know it takes your stomach 20 MINUTES to let your brain know it’s full??? Do you realize if you eat fast and don’t chew well for that same 20 minutes that you’ll be OVERFULL every single time? Overeating is the #1 cause of obesity. Back to the Health teacher again – I was taught that making your meal last 20 minutes was best but then got told that the entire lunch period in school was 25 minutes! How were we supposed to make it last 20 when it sometimes took 10 minutes or longer to just get through the lines! This may have changed since I was in school but you get the idea here. When I first started, I bought a 3 minute egg timer and flipped it after every bite. Paying attention to the way you feel is key to re-learning when you’re full because one bite too many after surgery will send you to the bathroom to be sick. Use the information that your Nutritionist and Surgical team give you. It’s there to help you succeed and to assist you in healing afterward. Don’t try to rush the steps from liquids to soft foods to meat and beyond. It can be harmful to that new baby tummy you have. I still think of my pouch as a baby and will stop and think about what I’m putting in it the way I thought about feeding my own infants. You wouldn’t give your infant a giant chunk of steak and expect them to eat it, so why are you doing that to yourself? You wouldn’t put alcohol in a bottle and feed it to a baby, why do it to yourself. Wait until you know what you can tolerate before jumping into something that could land you in the hospital.
It WILL be worth it!