LVS

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I am glad I found this forum!  I've been going through some issues and maybe you can help.  This is my 5th week post surgery and I am frustrated because I only have one taste and one smell for everything.  I understand that I will not enjoy the foods I did in the past but somehow I've lost the sense of smell and taste.  I am starting to eat solid foods now, but as soon as I finish preparing the food I get this pungent smell and I  can't no longer eat it.  For instance I was so glad that avocado was on my foods to eat I was waiting for the day I could take a piece of avocado wasn't able to retain it.  

The smell of the food cooking makes me gag an certain perfumes or detergent smells bother me.   I've been surviving on Premier protein and wheat thins and my doctor tells me that I have to make an effort to eat.  He did tell me before the surgery that I was not going to feel hungry but I had to eat my meals and snacks. 

Nothing hurts and I feel good.  I stopped using the diabetic pills within the 2nd week post surgery and my blood pressure pills I stopped right after. Just for that reasons alone I am glad I did the surgery.  But has anyone else gone through these symptoms?  And if you have what did you do?

Like I said one smell for everything and one taste for everything. 

So that you more less understand me, I want you to think about the food you dislike the most. Now think about your favorite food but now it tastes like the pungent food you would never eat even if it was the only thing to eat in the house.  That's what my daily meals taste to me. 

I need you help!

 

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6 hours ago, LVS said:

I am glad I found this forum!  I've been going through some issues and maybe you can help.  This is my 5th week post surgery and I am frustrated because I only have one taste and one smell for everything.  I understand that I will not enjoy the foods I did in the past but somehow I've lost the sense of smell and taste.  I am starting to eat solid foods now, but as soon as I finish preparing the food I get this pungent smell and I  can't no longer eat it.  For instance I was so glad that avocado was on my foods to eat I was waiting for the day I could take a piece of avocado wasn't able to retain it.  

The smell of the food cooking makes me gag an certain perfumes or detergent smells bother me.   I've been surviving on Premier protein and wheat thins and my doctor tells me that I have to make an effort to eat.  He did tell me before the surgery that I was not going to feel hungry but I had to eat my meals and snacks. 

Nothing hurts and I feel good.  I stopped using the diabetic pills within the 2nd week post surgery and my blood pressure pills I stopped right after. Just for that reasons alone I am glad I did the surgery.  But has anyone else gone through these symptoms?  And if you have what did you do?

Like I said one smell for everything and one taste for everything. 

So that you more less understand me, I want you to think about the food you dislike the most. Now think about your favorite food but now it tastes like the pungent food you would never eat even if it was the only thing to eat in the house.  That's what my daily meals taste to me. 

I need you help!

 

Hi LVS, a lot of people go through changes in their sensory perceptions ... most likely this is just a stage. At this point the key goal is weight loss while getting enough protein and fluids in, and it sounds like the objectives of improved health (no diabetes or blood pressure medicines needed now) are being achieved.... so congratulations.

I had similar things happen to me but perhaps not quite as extreme as you describe. One interpretation of what is happening to you is that in the absence of hunger, your senses that help serve to create the demand for foods are taking a vacation. (This is not a medical explanation, this is a 'how we perceive the world' explanation). In the absence of hunger, why should your senses of smell and taste be telling you to eat?  How crazy could it make you? There are important, and not well understood, connections between your metabolism, hunger, and your senses that serve the goals of eating and pleasure (or displeasure). 

You'll find a lot of postings here on the differences between "real" and "head" (or hedonistic) hunger ... my own experience would suggest that if you allow yourself to try small amounts, just a bite, of a spectrum of foods you will (at some point) find that you regain pleasure in eating.  The often-quoted saying is that continued and sustained weight loss ends up being about 90% in your head and only 10% the restrictions due to surgery.

This may sound odd, but I think I enjoy what I am eating MORE now than I did before surgery because I am much more choosy and careful about what I am eating. At least in part, I used to derive "pleasure" from eating a lot and the sense of a full stomach and satiety. (Did I really find those two slices of pizza late at night delicious, or was it the sense of packing my belly what was satisfying? Speaking for myself, I think there was a lot of the latter). At this point I am full with much less food, and so I am really a lot more choosy about what I eat. When I go out to eat with friends or family now I often find myself looking at the entrees being eaten by the others, and think, I would never eat that now. 

This morning (posting in the morning) I went out to my garden and picked some fresh basil. I'll make a small omelet with the basil, some pungent Gruyere cheese, ... and enjoy them. At your stage I doubt I would have had much pleasure in them. Be of good cheer, I think your body is being kind to you at this particular stage; and that as things move along, you will find pleasure again. 

 

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Thank you BurgandyBoy!  I thought I was going crazy, I was becoming introverted. No one around me understood what I'm going through, (not even myself).  What you wrote makes a lot sense.  Our senses dictate a lot of what we were used to eat.  Thanks again for your willingness to help newbies like me.

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Many people have taste and smell aversions in the early post-op stage.  It's interesting to me that you mention avocado because that was one of my aversions and it broke my heart!  I so had my heart set on some refried beans and mashed avocado when I could advance to mushy food.  I fantasized about it through those long weeks of liquids and was set to enjoy my whopping 2 tablespoons.  To my shock, the avocado made me gag!!  I was crushed and sure I'd never be able to eat guac again.  Happily I can and do now eat avocado regularly.  I don't know what causes the aversion and I suppose it doesn't really matter because it's beyond our control.  I just know that it happens and I know that it doesn't last forever.

What I would suggest right now is to stick with foods that you don't have to cook and that don't have strong flavors or smells.  Things like cottage cheese, greek yogurt, eggs, deli meat slices, maybe refried beans?  Probably the crackers aren't the greatest choice at this stage but there are lots of other things to try. Try several things and if you find a couple of things that you can tolerate stick with those for a couple of weeks and then try a few different things to see if your aversions are getting better.  It won't last forever and you can be more adventurous as you move from being repulsed by foods to just being indifferent and finally to finding foods you truly love and enjoy.  I'm with @BurgundyBoy, I really enjoy food more now.  For me it's because I eat slower and savor each bite.  I also don't eat junk anymore, mindlessly without even tasting it.  And I don't mind spending more for the best quality because I don't eat enough for it to really be expensive. 

Your little baby sleeve is still healing so it doesn't really matter if you eat the same thing every day or even if you enjoy it for that matter.  Right now it is about healing and fuel.  Protein and fluid.  The rest will come and it will be awesome!

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On 7/12/2019 at 9:55 AM, LVS said:

I understand that I will not enjoy the foods I did in the past but somehow I've lost the sense of smell and taste.  I am starting to eat solid foods now, but as soon as I finish preparing the food I get this pungent smell and I  can't no longer eat it. 

Hi @LVS. Your situation sounds a lot like what I experienced post-op. For me, everything protein smelled/tasted about the same, whether it was eggs or cheese or yogurt or meat or whatever. And not delicious the same - disgusting the same. I really didn't want to eat anything and took no pleasure in eating for quite some time after surgery. This has all dulled now, but not entirely gone away. Some things still just taste/smell gross to me, even if they were things I liked a lot before. My brain has perhaps rewired itself around this issue so that it's gone back closer to normal, but it's still not altogether back how it was. (as an aside, my sense of smell was partially permanently wiped out a few months before surgery by a weird cold I had - so my sense of smell is maybe 50% of what it used to be, plus all messed up since surgery - sort of a compounded problem).

So, here's what I did: I just planned what to eat for the day based on my intake needs (65+ g of protein, low carb, around 800 calories as of about 6 weeks out) and set a timer for myself and ate what I had planned. I ate without joy. I ate to support my body's healing. I ate to keep up my muscles. I ate to keep my hair. I did not eat for fun. For a long time. This allowed me to take a really needed psychological break from my relationship with food and reset it to be much healthier. When I got to my GW, I upped my calories (I exercise a lot and have been lucky, so my caloric needs are relatively high) and allowed myself some "treats" (whole wheat crackers, particularly), which I get pleasure from. But it's not the same sort of pleasure I used to have, which is actually a good thing. I don't daydream about food anymore. I don't go crazy when faced with a buffet. I don't plan my day around finding good things to eat. This has all been great for me, really. I don't "miss" food because it's not honestly that appealing to me, so I don't have to work so hard at limiting or regulating my intake. 

I have a list of foods that I don't mind and that are healthy (Greek yogurt, protein shakes blended with berries, hard boiled eggs, protein bars, cheese, tuna, tofu with spicy sauces, beans of any kind, veggie burgers) and plan most of my meals around those. Things that actually taste good are generally on the "strict limit" list (crackers, sweets of any kind) and I eat them sometimes in limited quantities for the most part, and I know I have to be careful of them.

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Lots of good tips in these posts. Only thing I can add is that right after surgery, I had aversions to foods that I had really liked before. And it also reminded me of being pregnant, kind of in the morning sickness phase. The smell of bacon, coffee, wine, anything fried... all made me feel sick! And for awhile I had to ask my husband to make the family dinners because it just smelled bad. 

I enjoy food now. Definitely. But some of the aversions have lessened, but not gone away. They seem to be the worse foods for me, like fried foods and white wine, so I'm okay with it! :) Just stay on track and let your body adjust. You'll do fine and good food will enter your life again. 

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Wow. Lots of great insight and advice (as usual) from @BurgundyBoy @msmarymac @Jen581791 and @Cindy Lou Who .

Just remember that your body and your brain will do all kinds of weird stuff to you in the first few months after weight loss surgery (for example, I was lactose intolerant for a few weeks and had hot flashes for the first time in my life (I’m a guy)).  The odds are very high that what you cannot stand to smell now will be fine for you to eat in a few weeks or months. 

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