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BF Beginners: Fitting It All In

~~posted by Jen


No matter what stage of the journey you’re in, it’s always helpful for us to all share ideas and tips with each other. We’re all in this thing together, and anything I personally can do to pay it forward and help the ones who come after me, I am going to do. I could never have achieved the level of success I have managed to reach and maintain it without all those who’ve “gone before” me and shared what they learned along the way.

While I’m addressing this post to Beginners, it’s for ANYONE who needs help with this particular issue. So many times on weight-loss surgery forums, the most frequently asked question I see is “How do you fit it all in? Water, protein, vitamins? I can’t do it!” That was the hardest thing for me to figure out as an early post-op RNY patient.

No drinking with meals, have to wait at least 30 minutes after a meal to drink anything. How in the world was I going to get in at least 64 ounces of water, not to mention lots of vitamin/supplement doses, AND at least 80 grams of protein a day? Then exercise on top of all that?? It’s overwhelming. Almost to the point of making you want to just give up, right?

I remember it well! It seemed downright impossible to me at the time. But like our good friend Shari (Jupiter6 on OH) always says, “We can do hard things.” So I wrote down my personal schedule of how I manage to get everything in during the day, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

First things first, get organized! Organization is key in making sure you meet your own needs. Make yourself and your health top priority. You HAVE to. No choice. Everything else that you’ve always put ahead of YOU for all these years? Now goes to second place. It will all still be there, I assure you.

If you don’t make yourself and your health top priority, no one will. If your health suffers as a result, you surely won’t be in any shape to help anyone else.

Multi-Day VitaCarry 8 Compartment Pill Box Holds Up To 60 PillsThe first step in getting organized? Finding a pill organizer that fits in your purse AND will hold all your daily meds. The one pictured is the one I prefer. I have 7 of them, and every Sunday afternoon I sit down and dose out my vitamins for the week. I have reminders set on my cell phone as well as on my computers both at home and at work to remind me in case I forget.

I also have a reminder set on my phone for 4 pm every day that says “How’s your water and protein?” That way, if I am behind for the day, I still have time to fit everything in before bed.

Now, this is my schedule, just to give you an idea. Your vitamin dosages will vary from mine, because I am over 2 years out and have some specific deficiencies that are being addressed. Here are the ASMBS Nutritional Guidelines for RNY patients. This explains the minimum dosages needed post-op and when to begin taking them.

This is more for the purpose of helping you figure out the timing than anything else. This is my daily routine:

Jen’s Daily Routine of Protein, Vitamins, and Water

I keep a 20 oz bottle of water on my nightstand and drink this throughout the night.  When I wake up in the morning (usually around 6:00 am or so) I finish off that bottle of water and take my 1st dose of vitamins.  Since I usually go to bed around 11 or 12, that’s already my first 20 oz of water before the day even starts.  
Wake up:  approx 6 am, I have 10 oz water with:  Bariatric Advantage Multivitamins, Citracal Petites 600mg, VitaLady Dry D3 5,000 IU, Vitalady DryVitamin K (I am deficient in this so I have to supplement, trying to get my level back up) 1000mg, and my Protonix
1st meal is my protein shake (27-30g of protein) on the way to work from 7:30 to 8 am 
Arrive at work 8:30 am
9 am drink 20 oz water then take 1000mcg B12 sublingual, 2nd dose of Calcium & D, and 2nd dose of Vitamin K, and my B-50 complex
10 am: breakfast, usually greek yogurt or cottage cheese with some fruit & either Kashi Go Lean or Fiber one mixed in. sometimes I do eggs, but not often (15-20g protein, depending what I have)
11 am: 16-20 oz more liquid either water or a decaf coffee or iced tea, but the tannin in tea interferes with calcium absorption just like caffeine does, so I try to go easy
1 pm: Lunch, either 2 oz of lunch meat & 2 oz of cheese on an Arnold thin or tuna salad with wheat thins (25-30 g of protein)
2:30pm: 20 oz of water with 3rd dose of Calcium + D
4pm: snack, sometimes just a Muscle Milk Light (15g protein) or cheese & crackers—for early outs I would put a protein shake here at least in the first 6 months
5 pm: leave work, I either drink water or Muscle Milk Light on the way home if I didn’t have it at snack time
6 pm: 4th dose of Calcium + D
So by the time I am home from work, I have already met the minimum for liquids, had all my meds except the iron, and at least 105 grams of protein.  If I have the day from hell at work (and I am in customer service, so I frequently do LOL), I can just crash when I get home and I’ve met my minimums for the day.  I rarely do that though, just explaining my rationale.
7:30 pm  dinner–varies depending on what I cook for my family, but minimum of 20g protein is my requirement. If I’ve already had at least 120 grams of protein and want just vegetables or salad, then that’s what I’ll have.
9 pm I take my Iron 720mg which is 81 mg ELEMENTAL iron, our min requirement daily is 52 mg elemental iron with 500 mg Vitamin C
11 pm usually a protein hot drink in the winter or a protein smoothie in the summer, now that I am dealing with the blood sugar issues I have to consume more protein with carbs just before I go to bed.
So there you have it, how I fit it all in. Hopefully this will help some of you work out your own timing schedule. If you have a tip or idea that helps with this, hit us up so we can share it with everyone! 

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14 comments

  1. I take my iron in the middle of the night (as I wake anyhow to pee)w/vit C then I don't have to worry about Ca,dairy, eggs, tea or coffee interfering. It works for me. My ferretin is up to 122 but my Hmg won't budge higher than 10.5

  2. I take my iron w/vit C in the middle of the night when I wake to pee and then I don't need to worry about Ca, dairy or eggs, tea or coffee interfering with the absorption.
    On OH I am godzilla

  3. Thanks for sharing that tip, Mikimi! That's why I take mine at bedtime, so it's spaced far enough from everything else.~~Jen

  4. Thanks for posting this. Even thought I am 19 months out, see your schedule is a healthy reminder that I need to do this more often myself. Plus seeing your schedule has help me make one of my own.
    Thank you Thank you Thanks you

  5. thanks so much for the help

  6. Do you ever take the Calcium chews with Vit D? I love those. The pills are too big for me to swallow.

  7. My former co-writer, Jen, did this post. I personally do chewable calcium. Unfortch, my D is very low so I have to do the higher level pills a lot of the time and they are swallow pills. But I have done the soft chew calcium. I am especially partial to Celebrate's brand of chocolate and lemon Calcet bites. Yum!

  8. Hi All! First, I'd like to say, I just discovered this website on Friday and have already fallen in love. I just had the Gastric Sleeve surgery 12-12-12, so I am new to all of this, excited and frustrated. I'm trying to get all this (water, protein, vitamins, exercise, etc.)in, but I'm having a hard time. I have 2 little boys (10 & 6). They are very supportive and try to help as much as possible, when they aren't gaming…LOL! This post really helped, although, I am having a rough time with my protein shakes. I have never had problems with milk, but I'm finding the thickness of the shakes are making me nauseous. I'm trying a new Whey Isolate powder from Vitamin Shoppe for the first time today. I have been getting my shakes down with decaf coffee. Do you guys have any ideas?

  9. Hi (is it Rose?)

    Congrats on your surgery (and on the surgery date!).

    The shakes can be bothersome at first. I always tell folks if the thickness of shakes bothers you, you can do one of two things, both involve changing the protein:liquid ratio. You can either reduce the amount of protein powder and keep the amount of liquid the same (so a 1/2 scoop instead of a full one) OR you can keep the protein powder amount the same and increase the liquids (which may take you longer to drink). Also, try using water instead of milk in your shakes. If you've ever had problems with sweetness that should also help with that too!

  10. I was told my vit d level is too low but my calcium is fine
    Thanks for posting your vitamin schedule!

  11. I am having one heck of a time with vitamins. I've tried the top two brands of bariatric vitamins (not sure if I can name them on your site or not) and I just cannot keep them down. The nausea is keeping me from taking them like I should. I also am iron deficient and I can't keep that down either. I'm feeling frustrated and confused. Do you have any suggestions or ideas? I am especially interested in something for the iron deficiency since my doctor had been on me about that in particular.

  12. If you're still having extreme nausea, that's not normal. Has your surgeon checked it out at all? You might have a stricture or some other problem. What about vitamins makes you ill? Just ingesting? The taste? Are they too sweet?

  13. I've talked to him about it, and he has encouraged me to keep trying them. He also wants me to find a liquid or chewable iron pill, but honestly, with the problems I had with it immediately post surgery, I think I'm afraid and have been dragging my feet a bit. I ordered some multi vitamins with iron, but ended up getting sick again. I'm fine once that happens. I think it's the texture/fruity flavor combo. I've never liked artifical fruit flavors.

    I see my surgeon again in two weeks, so I will ask again about what he would recommend. I was just hoping for other suggestions I could try before I go in to see him again. I'm doing really well otherwise, and this is frustrating since I want to do everything "right".

  14. Have you tried Wellesse? I've not but I've heard good things about their vitamins. It gets easier once you don't need to do chewables. I never had many tolerance issues BUT I am happy to ask the question on the BF Facebook page (www.facebook.com/bariatricfoodie)