8 p.m. - Protein drink
After two weeks, unsweetened applesauce, pured fish and baby food meats will be on the menu.
After four weeks, I'll be able to eat solid foods again, though I will only be able to eat four to six ounces of food at each meal.
I will also have to take at least six to seven vitamins every day for the rest of my life. The daily doses would include multivitamins, calcium, iron, vitamin C and vitamin B-12, though I can opt for a monthly B-12 shot.
Changing current eating habits
When I decided to have this surgery and go through the process, I knew I needed to start eating better. I decided that it was time to cut back portions and watch my fat and sugar intake.
Before, I was used to going to my refrigerator and taking out what I wanted, when I wanted it. I never really watched what I was eating until about two years ago.
For lunch, I might have a lunch-meat sandwich or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with potato chips and junk food. On the evenings I didn't have to work, I might eat a hot dog, French toast, a grilled steak and baked potato, or pasta. My problem was eating late at night, when I might eat ice cream, cake or pie.
Going out to eat, I would usually order a pasta dish, a salad and sometimes dessert - usually entrees that were very high in calories and carbs.
I would not eat breakfast. Sometimes, I did not eat anything all day, which I know is not good, either.
Today, things are different.
Almost every kind of meat I have for an evening meal, I bake. I bake fish and chicken and I also bake French fries - no more cooking in oil. If a recipe calls for oil, I use canola. I also buy butter, which is said to be better for you than margarine.
I am eating more vegetables, and, in place of the unhealthy late-night snacks, I eat yogurt.
When I buy groceries, I read labels for carbs and fats, whereas before I just bought what looked good.
I've also changed some other bad habits: I quit smoking. I have been taking smoking cessation classes at the Washington County Health Department. This is one of the prerequisites for surgery. I will be tested for nicotine in my blood, so I cannot cheat.
I quit smoking as of Nov. 20, and will continue to be smoke free as I know it is not healthy and quitting might help me heal better. I've been using Chantix, and it is a blessing. I do not crave nicotine, and that is exactly what the medication is to do.
Early signs of progress
In mid-November, I went to my fifth weight-loss visit and learned that I had lost 2 pounds. That is not much, but at least I did not gain. Plus, I've lost a total of 40 pounds since June 2007. I like hearing that.
Also my cholesterol levels are down to normal, thanks to medication and watching what I eat.
My last weight-loss appointment is Dec. 17 and I am so excited. This has been a long six months so far, and I want to get this surgery done.
I still have to get an EKG, chest X-ray and blood work before my last visit. These are routine before any surgery. So after my appointment, the paperwork will be sent in and I wait to hear.
I have come so far. I am committed to this and I will do whatever I have to for this to become successful. The most important part of all of this is my food intake and exercise. I do like some challenges too, and I will make this happen.