One of the biggest things I struggle with is staying hydrated. Prior to surgery, I would easily consume 2 litres of water a day. Now, I will rarely drink greater than 1 litre of liquid a day and on average I consume around 500ml. I’m lucky, I never lost the ability to feel hungry post gastrectomy. After my stomach was removed and I was allowed to eat again, I would eat anytime my mind told me I was hungry. I didn’t want to lose this mind/body connection so like Pavlov’s dogs, anytime I would get a hunger pang, I would eat. Eating was key early on. I understand how it can be tough for people to lose weight due to the association between the brain and hunger. If there wasn’t an association than I shouldn’t feel hungry since I don’t have a stomach and therefore don’t have the neurotransmitter that is released to the brain to make you feel hungry.
I have heard that if you feel hungry, you may just be thirsty instead. It is hard for me to distinguish between the two but more recently, I have tried to choose liquid instead of food when I get this feeling. About 50% of the time, I no longer feel hungry after having a few sips of something. The other 50% of the time, I don’t feel hungry anymore but instead I feel a little faint (process of elimination, body needed food).
Water is usually available most places but when you have an issue with drinking water, what do you do? I didn’t realize how many sugar loaded beverages are out there until you are looking for something specific. Movie theatres are the worst. Most of the time I bring my juice/water combo or purchase a tea. Recently, I have tried to bring a canteen with me in an effort to stay more hydrated.
It’s funny that the best beverages to go down the pipe is coffee, wine or juice+water. I try not to drink too much coffee because I don’t want all the caffeine so often I resort to decaf. Carbonated beverages are the worst. Darker beer is better than light. Wine and Caesars are smooth sailing. Someone must be trying to tell me something.
For some reason, drinking water post gastrectomy seems to be an issue for many people. When I asked a dietitian about it, she had no idea. I think it has something to do with the surface tension in water. Ice cold water is easier to drink vs. warm water. Filtered water is easier than tap. If you think back to basic science class, when you placed water in a test tube a meniscus formed. I think that may happen in your esophagus as you swallow combined with some air make it feels like you could be swallowing molasses.
Maybe this is TMI (too much information), but I often monitor my hydration status by the colour of my urine. Also, after consuming a glass of liquid, it will often go right through me over the next 30 minutes to an hour. I am guessing that it is a combination of having less storage space as well as regulating sphincters from my stomach and that my kidney’s are super efficient now due to my lack of liquid consumption.
It always amazes me how the human body can adapt. Bottom’s up!