Becky Sawtelle one month out

A whole month has passed since Becky Sawtelle was in the operating room at Central Maine Medical Center undergoing weight loss surgery. She had tried for years to lose weight on her own and finally opted to have the Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass procedure. So far, she has lost 43 pounds and has also experienced the pleasure of clothes that don’t fit — not because they’re too tight, because they’re too big. “I’m swimming in my clothes,” she reports. “I have a windbreaker that in January I could not zip. I wore it the other night and not only could I zip it up, but it was loose. That was a really nice feeling.”

Not so nice is her new relationship with food. Food used to be a big part of her life. In a way it still is, but for different reasons. “Before I could just eat whatever I wanted,” Becky admits, “and now I can’t. Visually, I want it all, but physically, I can’t. It’s just not fun to eat anymore, not fun at all. I still think about it. I think about it all the time, but I can’t eat it. It really sucks!”

Every week Becky can add new items to her diet. Oatmeal was on the breakfast menu a few days ago. She was excited, but a few spoonfuls and she felt full and nauseous. Topping it with bananas has helped a little.

She needs protein, but can’t bear even the thought of drinking one more protein drink. This past weekend she went out to dinner for the first time. The only thing she found on the menu that she could have was grilled chicken and mashed potatoes. Again, a few bites and she felt full and nauseous.

It will get better. She knows it. “It’s just going to take time for my body to adjust,” she explains. “The dietitian told me that how I’m feeling is not unusual. The first month or two is the hardest. She also suggested I try making my own smoothies instead of the ready-made protein drinks. She said use milk, mix it up with some yogurt, put in a banana, and have it that way. So that’s what I’m going to try today.”

A friend who had the surgery last year also gives Becky a lot of reassurance and encouragement. “She sent me a picture of herself — before and after — and she was as big as I was,” Becky describes. “Now she has a flat stomach and is wearing bikinis. The other day she said she was stretched out by the pool and opened her eyes and noticed her stomach and how flat it was and she started to cry.”

Becky knows that she will turn the corner and will start feeling better. “I know I’m only a month out,” she says, “and I’m happy I’m losing the weight.”

She’s really looking forward to the new wardrobe she’ll be shopping for in the near future. Maybe she’ll take us along!

Is there anything Becky has eaten in the past month that she found satisfying? Yes! Wheat toast with tuna fish. There is hope.

We’ll check on Becky’s progress again in about two weeks.

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