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Traveling cross country-5 weeks post op



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I had my surgery (sleeve) 7 days ago. I am moving to California Oct 29th. (Military) We will be traveling for 4-9 days (depending on kids) from South Georgia. I was supposed to have surgery this past summer. Then they made it for august and then covid got worse. So finally last week got it done. But now so many worries. Has anyone travelled Long distance after sleeve surgery? Anyone who has any tips or tricks they learned or have any good ideas. I have no idea how I’m gonna do this when I’m limited on what I can eat and we will be on the road for a while. Just getting nervous.

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Posted (edited)

Oh no! PCS during recovery!

A few options:

1. Pack a cooler with Protein Shakes in case you end up in some food desert (LOOKING AT YOU WESTERN TEXAS) with nothing you can eat. Also, get some Isopure which helps with Protein if you're truly stuck.

2. Meal prep some if you can. Maybe you can freeze it and keep ice on it? I transported frozen pork roll from New Jersey to California in February in the cab of my truck.

3. Order small portions at restaurants and then just throw away what you can't eat. Wasteful, but better than starvation.

Also, just to reassure you—truck stops have AMAZING c-stores with things like protein shakes and Protein Bars and cheeses and things. Like, I was blown away that in way-the-he||-and-gone western Oklahoma, the Love's Travel Stop had a HUGE range of stuff that would be bariatric-friendly.

If there's stuff you can eat now that you love that's Georgia-specific (my dad used to live outside of Brunswick), take some with you for comfort. Boiled peanuts spring to mind...

If you want, share the route and maybe I and other Bariatric Pals can share suggestions for places to go. I've driven all over this country.

Edited by vikingbeast

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The cooler is my go to too. I take yoghurt, cheese, Protein Bars, etc. Even packed cooked chicken & deli meats (got to make sure the cooler is very cold of course). If no freezer in my room, I’d ask management to pop the ice bricks in their kitchen freezer over night. Restock from grocery, convenience stores as you go. Throw in some Protein Shakes too.

Of course you’ll likely be only on soft foods in a month so you won’t be able to eat all that I pack but it might give you ideas. Try containers with meat balls & sauce (gravy) in your cooler instead of chicken & deli meats. Just mash them in the container with the gravy. Only last a couple of days but it will start you off.

Look for eating places with Soups, eggs (scrambled, poached, omelettes), mince meat dishes or slow cooked meats. Appetiser size meals are most realistic portions, or share meals with your family. Don’t be afraid to ask for half serves. I used to ask if they would mind scrambling a single egg for me when I was travelling. Most places were sure, no problem.

Hope the move goes smoothly. Be careful lifting, carrying, pulling, pushing too much though.

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What to eat wouldn't be my chief concern in this situation (there's always baby food and Protein powder); staying hydrated and rested would. Remember to plan plenty of extra rest stops to pee and stretch. You didn't mention the children's ages, but hopefully they're big enough to carry everything you need (cooler, overnight bag, etc.).

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I wanted to emphasize what @FutureSylph said. I have a cross-country flight planned for 5 weeks after surgery and the surgeon said to make sure I walked around every hour. I am not sure it's necessary every hour in the car because you'll be able to change positions better, but definitely get out and walk around a bit frequently because you don't want to risk blood clots. That's a risk after any surgery, and if you're at a higher weight (like we all are), it's an even higher risk.

The food is a bit of a lesser issue, but I agree that you should be able to find things like Protein Shakes (Make sure the sugar count is low), cheese sticks, eggs, and order refried Beans, ground meat dishes, fish, etc and just throw things out or share with a family member. If you stop at subway or any sandwich place you should be able to order a sandwich and just eat the deli meat (that's on my plan for soft foods, not sure about yours). I haven't found restaurants in the US willing to do half portions in most cases.

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Planning, Planning and more Planning. First off, thank you for your service. When you make your trip you will need to keep the mind set that you will have enough to eat. Do not worry about eating you have a restriction from surgery. You will not want to eat too much. Get it out of your head that you will be starving. Many here have said that you should bring along Protein Shakes, great idea. At the time of your travels you should be (unless your Dr has a different plan) on soft foods. Baby foods are a good travel option for you as well. Make sure that you have plenty of Water. That will be the key, it will hydrate you and also give you a feeling of fullness. Herbal tea, if you can get it on the road is another great option.

As for truck stop food or fast food, STAY AWAY!!! After weight Loss Surgery (WLS) you should stay away from processed foods. Processed foods will only accelerate you gaining weight over time. You will not feel much hunger but in your mind you will THINK that you you will need to eat. It's our conditioning over the years to make us think that way. WLS has given you a powerful new tool a restriction. Don't eat around it, don't over feed it and most of all don't ignore it. It is your best friend. It will let you nourish yourself but not allow you to take in unnecessary amounts of food.

You will be surprised as to how easy it will be to take care of your hunger as it will dissipate quite fast with little nourishment. I hate to use this phrase but I'll make an exception here, You've Got It. Just Plan, Plan Plan.

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53 minutes ago, Danpaul said:

You will not feel much hunger but in your mind you will THINK that you you will need to eat. It's our conditioning over the years to make us think that way. WLS has given you a powerful new tool a restriction. Don't eat around it, don't over feed it and most of all don't ignore it. It is your best friend. It will let you nourish yourself but not allow you to take in unnecessary amounts of food.

You will be surprised as to how easy it will be to take care of your hunger as it will dissipate quite fast with little nourishment. I hate to use this phrase but I'll make an exception here, You've Got It. Just Plan, Plan Plan.

Yeah, I am 3 weeks out and I'm hungry all the time. I wish people would stop saying "you will not feel much hunger". I'm following my plan to a T and it's not head hunger - my stomach is growling and I am not craving anything in particular, I am just HUNGRY. Even when I've just eaten, I want to eat more, but I'm afraid.

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That hunger can also be pain from the long cut as it heals. When your stomach empties it contracts just like it did before and if those nerves are still tender it can hurt and that pain (for most people at least) is indistinguishable from hunger pangs. Filling the pouch stops those contractions and the pain can stop. Conversely you might be one of the people where hunger never goes away. But at three weeks don’t assume the worst, it still can get better.

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17 hours ago, vikingbeast said:

Oh no! PCS during recovery!

A few options:

1. Pack a cooler with Protein Shakes in case you end up in some food desert (LOOKING AT YOU WESTERN TEXAS) with nothing you can eat. Also, get some Isopure which helps with Protein if you're truly stuck.

2. Meal prep some if you can. Maybe you can freeze it and keep ice on it? I transported frozen pork roll from New Jersey to California in February in the cab of my truck.

3. Order small portions at restaurants and then just throw away what you can't eat. Wasteful, but better than starvation.

Also, just to reassure you—truck stops have AMAZING c-stores with things like Protein shakes and Protein Bars and cheeses and things. Like, I was blown away that in way-the-he||-and-gone western Oklahoma, the Love's Travel Stop had a HUGE range of stuff that would be bariatric-friendly.

If there's stuff you can eat now that you love that's Georgia-specific (my dad used to live outside of Brunswick), take some with you for comfort. Boiled peanuts spring to mind...

If you want, share the route and maybe I and other Bariatric Pals can share suggestions for places to go. I've driven all over this country.

Thank you so much. Was definitely planning on bringing a cooler of Protein Shakes and non fat yogurt at the very least. I was nervous about that too, when we drive through the desert. Lol

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15 hours ago, Arabesque said:

The cooler is my go to too. I take yoghurt, cheese, Protein Bars, etc. Even packed cooked chicken & deli meats (got to make sure the cooler is very cold of course). If no freezer in my room, I’d ask management to pop the ice bricks in their kitchen freezer over night. Restock from grocery, convenience stores as you go. Throw in some Protein Shakes too.

Of course you’ll likely be only on soft foods in a month so you won’t be able to eat all that I pack but it might give you ideas. Try containers with meat balls & sauce (gravy) in your cooler instead of chicken & deli meats. Just mash them in the container with the gravy. Only last a couple of days but it will start you off.

Look for eating places with Soups, eggs (scrambled, poached, omelettes), mince meat dishes or slow cooked meats. Appetiser size meals are most realistic portions, or share meals with your family. Don’t be afraid to ask for half serves. I used to ask if they would mind scrambling a single egg for me when I was travelling. Most places were sure, no problem.

Hope the move goes smoothly. Be careful lifting, carrying, pulling, pushing too much though.

Thank you so much! Some great ideas!

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10 hours ago, FutureSylph said:

What to eat wouldn't be my chief concern in this situation (there's always baby food and Protein powder); staying hydrated and rested would. Remember to plan plenty of extra rest stops to pee and stretch. You didn't mention the children's ages, but hopefully they're big enough to carry everything you need (cooler, overnight bag, etc.).

Thank you and yes they are plenty big enough to carry their own things and I have my husband. He’s not let me do anything yet. But starting next week we have to start packing and cleaning and the movers will be here in 3 weeks. It’s nerve wrecking because I am a control freak so being limited will be tough. We definitely plan on stopping every night to rest. Thank you :)

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10 hours ago, lizonaplane said:

I wanted to emphasize what @FutureSylph said. I have a cross-country flight planned for 5 weeks after surgery and the surgeon said to make sure I walked around every hour. I am not sure it's necessary every hour in the car because you'll be able to change positions better, but definitely get out and walk around a bit frequently because you don't want to risk blood clots. That's a risk after any surgery, and if you're at a higher weight (like we all are), it's an even higher risk.

The food is a bit of a lesser issue, but I agree that you should be able to find things like Protein Shakes (Make sure the sugar count is low), cheese sticks, eggs, and order refried Beans, ground meat dishes, fish, etc and just throw things out or share with a family member. If you stop at subway or any sandwich place you should be able to order a sandwich and just eat the deli meat (that's on my plan for soft foods, not sure about yours). I haven't found restaurants in the US willing to do half portions in most cases.

Thank you so much!!! That was one thing my doctor mentioned. Making sure to walk and prevent blood clots. I will most likely be eating small things off my kids it looks like. Lol

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9 hours ago, Danpaul said:

Planning, Planning and more Planning. First off, thank you for your service. When you make your trip you will need to keep the mind set that you will have enough to eat. Do not worry about eating you have a restriction from surgery. You will not want to eat too much. Get it out of your head that you will be starving. Many here have said that you should bring along Protein Shakes, great idea. At the time of your travels you should be (unless your Dr has a different plan) on soft foods. Baby foods are a good travel option for you as well. Make sure that you have plenty of Water. That will be the key, it will hydrate you and also give you a feeling of fullness. Herbal tea, if you can get it on the road is another great option.

As for truck stop food or fast food, STAY AWAY!!! After weight Loss Surgery (WLS) you should stay away from processed foods. Processed foods will only accelerate you gaining weight over time. You will not feel much hunger but in your mind you will THINK that you you will need to eat. It's our conditioning over the years to make us think that way. WLS has given you a powerful new tool a restriction. Don't eat around it, don't over feed it and most of all don't ignore it. It is your best friend. It will let you nourish yourself but not allow you to take in unnecessary amounts of food.

You will be surprised as to how easy it will be to take care of your hunger as it will dissipate quite fast with little nourishment. I hate to use this phrase but I'll make an exception here, You've Got It. Just Plan, Plan Plan.

Thank you so much! I honestly don’t think I’ll be thinking about food too much. My stomach is barely able to tolerate the cream Soups and Protein Shakes As it is. I just wanted to be prepared and have safe options. Definitely trying to plan so I don’t get tempted to do anything stupid. Lol. You all have great input. It’s so appreciated.

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1 hour ago, KarrinnaP said:

Thank you so much. Was definitely planning on bringing a cooler of Protein Shakes and non fat yogurt at the very least. I was nervous about that too, when we drive through the desert. Lol

Don't be worried, there's places, just not as many as east of the Mississippi.

If you're taking I-10, after you leave San Antonio there's at least decent size truck stops at Junction, Sonora, Ft. Stockton, and Van Horn. Once you leave El Paso there's Las Cruces, Deming, and Lordsburg. In Arizona there's San Simon, Willcox, and Benson before you get to Tucson (and on I-8 there's Gila Bend and Yuma).

If you're taking I-20, west of Fort Worth there's Weatherford, Ranger, Abilene, Midland-Odessa, and Pecos before you hit I-10.

If you're taking I-40, west of Oklahoma City there's Elk City, then in Texas there's Shamrock and Amarillo, then in NM there's Tucumcari, Santa Rosa, Albuquerque, Grants, and Gallup, and in Arizona there's Holbrook, Winslow, Flagstaff, Kingman, and stuff both in Needles CA and across in AZ (fill up in AZ, it's like a dollar and a half cheaper per gallon... CA prices for gas are insane though sometimes there's cheaper gas on-base). But there's nothing in California at all between Needles and Newberry Springs/Barstow which is like 120 miles.

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1 hour ago, vikingbeast said:

Don't be worried, there's places, just not as many as east of the Mississippi.

If you're taking I-10, after you leave San Antonio there's at least decent size truck stops at Junction, Sonora, Ft. Stockton, and Van Horn. Once you leave El Paso there's Las Cruces, Deming, and Lordsburg. In Arizona there's San Simon, Willcox, and Benson before you get to Tucson (and on I-8 there's Gila Bend and Yuma).

If you're taking I-20, west of Fort Worth there's Weatherford, Ranger, Abilene, Midland-Odessa, and Pecos before you hit I-10.

If you're taking I-40, west of Oklahoma City there's Elk City, then in Texas there's Shamrock and Amarillo, then in NM there's Tucumcari, Santa Rosa, Albuquerque, Grants, and Gallup, and in Arizona there's Holbrook, Winslow, Flagstaff, Kingman, and stuff both in Needles CA and across in AZ (fill up in AZ, it's like a dollar and a half cheaper per gallon... CA prices for gas are insane though sometimes there's cheaper gas on-base). But there's nothing in California at all between Needles and Newberry Springs/Barstow which is like 120 miles.

Thank you. I appreciate that. It’s been so long since we’ve driven through to California. I’m from California but it’s been a good 12 years since I’ve driven to or from California. Last time was when I was in Dallas but this is much further and then we used to travel a lot to Colorado from California growing up. I just remember being in the middle of nowhere a lot of the time. But I feel much better after getting advice from you guys. And at least I know I’ll have options and be able to make good decisions. Gas is crazy there. Im not looking forward to the many things we will have to adjust to financially. That’s for sure. But I’m happy to be getting back to family.

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