It's coming up on Week 17, otherwise known as Month 4. I feel like I'm in a good place in terms of having a pretty solid routine going. I'm still not hungry at all (thank goodness) but I'm getting to know my Pouch Signals and the Limits of the Pouch: I'm still keeping an eye on the clock to make sure I get my food in, but I can really tell when I need food, and I can tell when I should stop eating. I get this sort of empty feeling when I need food, which usually happens after I exercise (or sometimes during! I've started bringing string cheese with me when I'm on a long walk). When I'm eating, I eat pretty slowly and can feel it when I'm getting to my limit. I can eat almost a cup of soft stuff like yogurt or cottage cheese, but much less solid stuff like veggie "meat" or fish - about 3 oz. of that. I've eaten too much a couple of times and felt uncomfortable afterwards - this was due to eating too fast and not catching the signals. I don't seem to have any of the hiccuping, or runny nose, or sneezing, or whatever other weird signals that some post-op people get.
Here's a typical day of food for me right now, for anyone who might be interested:
Breakfast: 1/2 cup greek yogurt + 1/4 cup berries
Lunch: protein shake with Fairlife milk (Syntrax Nectar is my go to shake - others I've tried have been less good. I like the vanilla)
Snack: 1/3 cup cottage cheese + 1/4 cup fake meat taco meat + salsa <-- my awesome go-to snack right now - my fav brand of fake meat crumbles to make taco meat with is Beyond Meat
Sometimes I have a string cheese, too.
Sometimes instead I have a deli slice of cheese and a slice of fake lunch meat (Tofurkey).
Dinner: veggie burger or tofu or veggie sausage or (sometimes) fish or shrimp, with a bit of veggies like broccoli or sweet potatoes. I still feel really weird eating seafood after being a vegetarian for so long, but it's an easy way to get in a lot of protein. I kind of wrinkle my nose a bit at it.
This works out to between 600-800 calories, with 70-90 grams of protein. Occasionally I eat 900, with 100g of protein, but it feels like too much food (I do it intentionally to shake things up a bit). It feels like I'm eating all the time, but I think that's just because I eat slowly. I'm 100% on not drinking for 30 minutes (usually 45) after eating - it's becoming a habit.
I'm walking a lot - like an average of 15000 steps per day. I've been doing 9 mile walks on the beach a lot, which is very enjoyable, but I'm starting to get blisters on my feet just from walking so much, I think. I walked 187 miles in the past month, according to the Fitbit (what? that's insane), which works out to over 6 miles a day. My poor little feet need to toughen up, though. They're always the weakest link in my walking/hiking. All of this walking is making me feel GREAT! I really feel stronger, all of my muscles are getting more toned, and I have a lot more energy. I imagine that carving three hours out of my day every day once I am gainfully employed again will be pretty difficult, but I bet I can do two, especially since my food oriented time is greatly decreased and I'm not going to be sitting down and having a glass of wine after work every day... the odds of exercising after a glass of wine are approaching zero.
I feel like I'm not striving to be invisible anymore. In my years as a thin/normal-sized woman, having someone look at me in public was usually a positive thing: it led to positive interaction, or at least neutral non-interaction. In my years as a heavy woman, having someone look at me has mostly been a negative thing, and this is partly due to societal feelings about heavy women and partly due to my own shame and self-loathing about being heavy. It's a two-way street.
Being noticed in public doesn't generally lead to positive interactions for heavy women. Having seen how this works from both sides makes this difference very clear - society is a lot nicer to thinner people. This isn't a pretty truth, but it's how things work. My strategy for dealing with this has been to adopt invisibility - flowy, drapey clothes, no eye contact, general blending in. I'm starting to feel like I don't need to do this as much. It's a good feeling, and I'm looking forward to feeling more comfortable as time goes on.
I sort of wish I could just fast forward a few months, so I could just be normal weight already, but I don't think that's likely to happen. I still keep feeling really impatient even though the whole process is going pretty quickly. I know the second half of the weight-loss phase will be a bit more enjoyable than the first half just because everything I do right now is a bit more pleasant since I'm thinner and happier now, and that's only going to get better.