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Ok, not a great title, but I can't figure out how to ask this - here goes. Do you guys feel it is "healthier" (for WLS patients or more importantly a food addict) to eat a few bites of a variety of foods at each meal or more bites of a smaller variety? I had a counseling session yesterday, and she was concerned about the variety I eat. And what I mean by that is she fears that eating just a few bites of so many different foods at one sitting is not a great idea for me as I am still in "recovery" mode from food addiction. Her theory being that if I keep eating lots of different stuff that I like, it stimulates my taste buds and eventually will lead to desire to eat "just one more bite" of not good for me foods.

To put it in perspective, we were talking about how I had been to several restaurants the past weekend that I was not able to choose and just chose the best I could. At one meal, I ate some chips and salsa and guacamole and then a small piece of flatbread pizza along with drinking 1/2 of a bloody mary. The day before, we ended up at a Bar type place and I split with my Mom sliders and wings. I ate the meat off of 2 small sliders and then 1 hot wing. I didn't think it was that bad of a choice, but she did. (Again, I am definitely a food addict and so far at least, no dumping so she is worried about my long term goals.) I am heading to an All Inclusive vacation in 10 days and her recommendation was just too chose 2 maybe 3 different items and just stick with those.

I see what she is trying to tell me, but I am not sure I 100% agree. I kept saying "but I want to be normal" and she said "it's too soon. You aren't "normal" yet. You ate poorly whatever you wanted for at least 35 years and you cannot break that habit in 8 months. Just watch the slippery slope. Does any of that make sense? What do you guys think?

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I try to eat different stuff all the time. I purposely still drink a Protein shake and eat a Quest bar every day so I can meet my Protein goals. And although most of my food choices are high protein, the shakes and bars give me the freedom to eat a balanced diet including fruit, veggies and whole grains while still getting 60-80g+ of protein. From a physiological standpoint, I like the idea of providing my body with different nutrients all the time. From a psychological standpoint eatng the same thing over and over with no variety would only be frustrating and lead to cravings and binges (for me, anyways)

However, the examples you gave (pizza, chips, Bloody Mary, wings) are all pretty poor choices when it comes to healthy, weight loss friendly foods. That first meal was pretty much all carbs and the second was some protein, but laden with fat and probably carbs from the sauces.

If you want variety, great, but make sure you mostly focus on lean protein and non starchy veggies. Your only carbs should be from maybe a little fruit and healthy, whole grains. Alcohol, bread and chips certainly should not be regular choices.

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Thank you. I can assure you those are abnormal choices. I was stuck out with my family and while I had packed healthy Snacks (which I did eat during the day), I just had a couple of meals where I could either go without or make the best of it. Maybe not the best choices. Only the 2nd alcoholic drink I have had in 8 months, so it is definitely not a habit. Nor is the pizza (though it was flatbread with chicken, artichoke and no sauce and very very small amount if any cheese). I do likely eat chips more than I should (maybe once a week). It was those meals though that alarmed her (as it did you) and as I am preparing to go to a vacation where all food and alcohol is included and I will be at the mercy of what is on the buffet that meal.

Really my question is more about the food variety at one sitting. For example, she said, even if healthy choices, to limit each sitting to only 2 or 3 food items - i.e. while on vacation - a piece of cheese and a small piece of fruit for Breakfast. If I were to choose, it would be more like - a few bites of scrambled egg, a piece of cheese, a Protein (probably small slice of bacon or small slice of ham) and a few bites of fruit. Her argument is that type of meal will stimulate the taste buds to desire more food. My argument being the variety and enjoyment of the food (as long as there is sufficient protein) is better served to keep me from getting bored. I am also taking quite a few Snacks to make sure I get to my Protein goals (Protein powder, Protein Bars, beef Jerky, individual packets of natural almond butter, small packages of cashews, etc.)

So what I am looking for perhaps you did answer and that is that variety staves off boredom which hopefully staves off poor food choices.

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If it were me I'd be eating a bite or two of everything that is bariatric friendly. As long as you are meeting Protein and Fluid goals, keeping your overall meal portions reasonable (4-6 ounces) and still losing weight I say go for it. And don't forget to pack your vitamins!

Everyone has to find their own plan for success and although your nut may have some good points, she is not you and can't possibly know what goes on in your head. But, if down the line, you do start making more poor choices or indulge in cravings and desires for more food, you may need to modify your "plan". And that's OK. I've discovered that postWLS life is more of an evolution than a set plan.

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I am only 4 and a half months out but I eat the same things over and over for the most part. I do go out onfe a week, twice at the most and then I try to make good choices as well. As of right now the repetitive eating is working in that I am seeing it as fuel and nothing else. At least fo rme, I want to try and stop looking at food as entertainment or reward etc.

As far as how someone "normal" eats, who the hell knows. I have come to terms with the fact that I am a mental fattie and I will just have to deal with that for life. I will always want to eat stuff I shouldn't so right now I am not giving myself permission to do that too often.

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How far out ate you from surgery? How close are you to goal?

Are you meeting your Protein and Fluid targets every day?

What works for me is to focus on reaching that Protein target.

For me, when I eat out I try to order one protein-rich entree and then have a side of vegetables, Soup, or something similar. Unless I order from the appetizer menu, I usually have leftovers.

The challenge I see in how you are eating is that it would be more difficult to get in and track protein if you are eating portions of several servings of food rather than sticking to one serving.

Is there a particular reason you can't or won't just choose one entree instead of grazing on a variety of entree choices? Is there a particular reason you chose to have a Bloody Mary instead of a Virgin Mary or just Tomato juice?

I think I get the point your counselor is trying to make when it comes to the decisions you are making around food.< /p>

As far as I am concerned, variety is good throughout the day, but not necessarily all at one time.

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I have always liked the "variety" too, but there seems to be something to what she is saying. I read an article some years ago that made it sound like tasting lots of different things will stimulate hunger/desire to eat.

I find myself having more and more meals that are similar- basically the Protein and vegetables or salad. Protein Drink for snack. Day after day....but it does seem less tempting to overeat. I like everything in my daily diet, but none of it really grabs me or calls my name from the pantry or fridge.

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@@Inner Surfer Girl - I'm 8 months post-op. I have lost 124 pounds and am only 15-25 pounds from goal (depending on my final goal which I haven't determined yet. Surgeon original goal for me was under 200 which I reached this week). The food choices this weekend were just odd because of the situation - I was out of town all weekend with family for a soccer tournament. They chose the places to eat so I didn't have a lot of choice. I chose a bloody mary because it just sounded good. And it is only the 2nd time I have had alcohol since surgery and then I only drank half. The different choices these 2 days were from the appetizer menu and were shared with others at the table. They weren't the type of restaurants where I could really order a an entrée just for myself. I ate out 3 other times this week (I eat out a lot) and generally order any type of entrée with grilled chicken - i.e. salad with grilled chicken, fajitas, etc. and I always have leftovers. I get a minimum of 80g of Protein per day and generally get closer to 90 or 100 and I drink minimum of 64 oz of Fluid, generally more. And I take my Vitamins religiously. When I eat at home, I often have 3 to 4 items of food - for example: 2 to 3 oz of chicken or turkey (protein), an ounce (or less) of cheese (protein), and cucumbers (veggie) sometimes a couple of whole wheat crackers. At breakfast once or maybe twice a week, I have 1/2 of a Cobblestone Flat bread round. I think my diet is fairly well rounded honestly, but the counselor was alarmed at my choices last weekend. To be fair, she only focused on those 2 meals and not what I had eaten the rest of the day or for that matter what I had eaten for the rest of my meals over the last 2 weeks since I had seen her. I logged all of my food and still met my Protein goals, calorie goals and fluid goals each day. If I was eating like that every single day, I agree that would be a very bad idea, but I don't.

I think I just didn't ask my question very well. Thanks to all for the input.

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http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v27/n10/full/0802391a.html

Scroll down to the section "variety and food intake". This backs up what she told you.

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@@CowgirlJane - Very interesting. I have always loved food with more variation. For example I really liked salads (and have missed them) because of all the different flavors and textures. Or I liked the appetizers which you could "choose 3" different kinds. I never really thought about wanting all those flavors and textures would lead to eating more. Reading it this way really does make this make more sense. Thanks very much for finding and sharing.

So can I ask all of you, do you really limit your meals to say 2 items? chicken and 1 veggie? Turkey and veggie (no cheese)? This concept seems really foreign to me know. I thought I was doing good to be able to eat several different items at once. This is throwing me for a bit of a loop.

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I don't have a rule about it, but as I mentioned before, I just find my meals getting simpler over time. I do eat salads but they are often 2 ingredients, not 6 likr I used to make then.

Contrary example however, eggs aren't super high Protein so one of my breakfasts is an egg white omelets with Protein added (usually diced chicken or turkey sausage) and a sautéed veggie or two.

I feel like a variety in veggies has alot of health benefits, but I am quite sure that a regular practice of "a bite of this and a spoon of thar" leads to eating a bit more.

We all need to find our own way, if, to me this is "food for thought " and maybe to be revisited if you find you are eating just a teeny bit too much (that's how it begins! )

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I do keep my meals pretty simple. For breakfast I usually just have one thing: chicken breast. lunch is usually chicken or turkey and one green veggie. dinner, I have a little more variety but not much.

What you might think about, as much as this particular issue (variety vs. no variety) is what appears to be your instinct to argue with your dietitian, believe you know better than she does, and then want to come to the internet for a second opinion and decide who is "right." Believe me, I get it, I have these instincts too! But I have learned to fight against them. The truth is, no matter how smart and educated I think I am, I have made horrible choices about food and eating throughout my entire life. How could I think I know better than someone with multiple degrees and certifications in nutrition, and who has successfully guided hundreds of bariatric patients to their goal weight? So I really, really try to follow the orders of my medical team, including my dietitian, and not think that I know better than they do. The evidence that they know better than I do is pretty strong. When I don't understand something they tell me, or think I have a better idea, I talk to them. I may not like the answers that I end up with, but I follow them. Good luck to you! :)

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Thank you for bringing up this topic. I haven't seen anyone discuss this before and it really resonated with me. So, first, while in weight loss mode, you really should avoid most of those foods that you have--especially chips, crackers and flat bread anything--basically any carb at this point except fruit and even then, keep that to a minimum. sauces are evil! You really have to be careful. THat's one of the bad things about Chinese food--the sauces contain so much sugar.

Anyway, after reading all of this, I realize that I do better when I keep things simple. But I have also wanted to have variety but nobody had ever said this was bad or why. I'm so glad to know this now!!! And it makes life more simple.

I know that going out to restaurants with others can be difficult. It's best to check online what is on their menu and make some decisions before you go. I recently went with friends to our annual post-holiday brunch. Now, let me tell you--this brunch is amazing! It's a buffet that has everything including sushi, prime rib, a chocolate fountain, the best french toast, omelettes to order, mac and cheese with lobster, and on an on. It's incredible. But, it was causing me angst just thinking about going so I did check their menu to see if I could order off the menu. And you can't on Sundays--just the buffet. But I called them and explained that I had WLS and is there anything they could do (because I do not have the discipline! I might eat stuff that is good for me but I will also eat too much of it). They said they could put together a plate for me. When I got there they couldn't have been nicer or more accommodating and did put together a nice plate of eggs and fruit and even made a fresh home made salsa for the eggs. I should also note that the brunch is usually around $100 each and that was the other reason I just couldn't do a couple of eggs for that money. But sometimes if you ask and explain your situation, people can help you out.

But for now, find things on menus that you can have--no chips and salsa!! I don't know enough about guacamole. Stay away from crackers and flat breads. Stick to Protein. Sometimes a shrimp cocktail or a bowl of chili works well at a restaurant. There are times when I ask for some sliced tomatoes and they give me those even though they aren't on the menu.

Keep it simple! I think your therapist is very smart and I wish someone had told me all of this!!

You have to create your new normal.

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125 pounds in 8 months is amazing....keep up the good work! You are exceeding Protein and fluid goals and losing at an incredible rate so whatever you're doing is working for now. Like I said before, successful plans after WLS are individual things and the great thing is you have the power to create and change your version as you go.

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I have variety in my Protein source, but to answer your question I only eat one or two things at most. I think that is due to my focus on clean Protein and there is usually not room for anything else. I am only 4 months out, so that plays a part too. I try not to include any sauces because I know that has been a major source of carbs not counted in my pre op eating habits.

Thanks for sharing what your therapist told you. I wonder if that plays a part in my past history or overeating at buffets?

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