I can tell that I’m starting to feel more optimistic about my choice to get the gastric sleeve surgery because I’ve started shopping for the stuff I’m going to need after surgery. With 3 days on a clear liquid diet and then 21 days on a full liquid diet I have to plan for success or I’ll find myself eating and drinking things that I shouldn’t because I won’t have the right stuff on hand.

On Wednesday night I went to my pre-op class where they handed out all of the information about the post-op diet. It’s very very similar to the post-op diet I had after the gastric band 12 years ago and so nothing was really new about it to me. What was new, or will be new, is that the products on the market are different, updated, dare I say improved, and I knew I needed to familiarize myself with them before surgery.

I never liked the protein supplements that were on the market 12 years ago. The one I could stand was the unflavored Designer Whey protein powder which I just put in smoothies and stirred into yogurt. But it wasn’t really a big deal because I never had trouble getting in all of the protein I was supposed to have in a day just from eating. (They really stress protein because with rapid weight loss you risk losing muscle mass and protein helps prevent your body from burning muscle instead of fat.) Without having any trouble getting the protein requirements into my diet in food form I kind of left the supplements by the wayside last time.

But this time I know it’s going to be different because unlike last time they will be cutting and stapling my stomach and the tissue itself will have to heal and that’s going to take longer. Last time I was back on regular foods within 2 weeks. This time, it’s going to be closer to 5 weeks before I can eat regular food again and I don’t want my muscles, skin, hair, and nails to fall to pieces during that time.

So yesterday I went out and bought a bunch of protein supplements, some for the clear liquids phase and some for the full liquids phase, and tried them out. I have to say there really has been progress in the past 12 years. Isopure, which is like a Gatorade style protein drink that has no carbs and no sugar, has 40 grams of protein in a 20 ounce bottle. 12 years ago it was so disgusting to me that I couldn’t tolerate it at all. Now, it’s honestly not so bad. It’s flavoring is so super strong that I watered it down about 2/3 water to 1/3 Isopure Alpine Punch flavor. But once watered down it was actually pretty good and I can see myself drinking it during the weeks I’m on liquids only.

I also grabbed a couple of boxes of Muscle Milk 100 calorie shakes, one vanilla and one chocolate. I’ll be honest, I did not have high hopes for these at all. Years ago all the premixed shakes tasted like chalk (anyone else remember trying Slim Fast in the 80s?) so I avoided these premixed shakes as well. But, once again I was wrong. The Muscle Milk 100 calorie boxes were pretty good and with 20 grams of protein in 11 ounces it seems that these will help me get my protein needs met while I spend weeks unable to eat anything with “chunks” in it.

I think the thing that has me most amazed is not the taste of these products, but rather how much I find I am looking forward to not having to eat. The food cravings, the will power, the exhaustion, and the hunger have been plaguing me for a long time now. As much as I am constantly thinking about food, what and when to eat, I just want to be done with it. The idea of spending weeks drinking shakes and sipping pureed soups in 2-4 ounce increments is actually appealing.

I remember what it felt like after my band surgery, I didn’t want to eat. My stomach organ hurt from being manipulated and the idea of eating was not appealing. I know, with the cutting and stapling, this is going to happen again. I’m looking forward to it. It’s like a hard reboot of my brain and it’s desire for food.

Anyway, at this point this is what counts as optimism and I’m going to take it.