BF Top 5: Questions Weight Loss Surgery Pre-Ops Ask Me

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We’re coming to an end to our “Pre-Op Love Fest.” I hope that all my Foodies prepping for surgery have found this helpful.

TOMORROW please look out for a post with suggestions of recipes you can use to help ease your transition into the “bariatric afterlife.”

For now I thought I’d do an FAQ. I get lots of questions from folks preparing for surgery. Sometimes I’m apt to answer them, sometimes I’m a bit wary (because our experiences can vary so much) but today I will be 100% straight up!

Nik, what kind of vitamins do YOU use?

Well it depends on the week. If I am having a good budget week, I am partial to Building Blocks Vitamins. When I was a wee lil’ post-op one of their reps took the time to talk me through my complete vitamin confusion and I appreciated that. They also are very involved with the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery and are up on their latest recommendations. I’m sort of a vitamin idiot (notice I do NOT write the vitamin column for Foodie News!) so it’s nice to know they are on top of things.

If you’d like to order a sample pack of Building Blocks Vitamins, you can call 877.419.1568.

Hey, Nik, can you recommend a good protein powder?

That’s a bit of a tricky question. Protein powders are like snowflakes. They are all different and we all respond differently to them. But I did do this post a few years back on my top five favorite protein powders. I took a look at the list and my opinion has not changed. The only addition I’d make is that back then I’d never tried Chike and I love it (especially the Protein Iced Coffee, read my review!). I’ve also since discovered Big Train’s Fit Frappe.

How many calories a day do you eat?

This also depends. Like any post-op I have my times when I am a gym zealot and times when life gets the best of me. My general rule is the more I move, the more calories I can (theoretically) eat. This doesn’t always pan out, though, because exercise is a powerful appetite suppressant for me. In short, when I exercise I don’t get as hungry (you’d think the opposite was true but I think it has something to do with dopamine. My appetite/feelings are intrinsically linked and when I exercise I feel good emotionally. When I feel good emotionally I don’t tend to get head hunger).

So having said that on any given day depending on my work schedule, workout schedule and just how I feel I can eat as low as 1,000 calories a day (doesn’t happen often but does happen) to upwards of 2,000. But according to Live Strong, my average falls in the 1,400-ish calories a day range.

What kind of exercise do you do? Is exercise really that important?

So here’s the deal. You can lose weight with WLS without ever setting foot in a gym and without ever doing a workout. I’ve seen people lose a greater percentage of excess weight than me who have never exercised.


I signed up for a total life change. And I want those life changes to be sustainable. So I want to do things that will keep me healthy for the rest of my life. Physical activity, for me, is an essential part of that equation!

So far as my workout routine, I do Body Pump two days a week, spin class two days a week, I run a few times a week (and I always run at least 3 miles but sometimes that’s absolutely it!) and I do things like Zumba on my Xbox with Kinect.

Nik, did you reach goal? Have you maintained?

This is a question where stuff gets real to me. There was a time when I thought sharing my personal struggles made me lose “street cred” with you guys. But you know what? We’re all post-ops working together to change our lives.

So in that thread I will say that I have had some regain. Not total but some. And at this stage I’m trying to decide if I like where I am now, where I was (and annoying as it was EVERYONE told me at my low weight that I looked gaunt) or somewhere completely different. Today I am more interested in my health and fitness. But a healthy weight is a part of that. I’ve openly admitted many times that I am a food addict (and I do NOT say that facetiously…I do actually attend Over-eaters Anonymous and am in the treatment of an addiction counselor).

All that is to say it isn’t any easier for me than for you. That’s part of the reason I love this blog. It keeps me accountable. You guys see what I eat. If I make it here, I have to eat it! (This is the offset of being a struggling single mama.) But also you guys encourage me every day.

So pre-ops, I hope I don’t scare you with my portion sizes (my plates tend to be bigger than most folks but the calories on them do not. I get a kick out of eating a lot of food for not that many calories…yes, I am crazy thanks for noticing). But what you will get with me is my truth. I promise to always present my post-op experience authentically in hopes that it helps you in some small way. 🙂