This week’s #BFHolidayChallenge is to take all your vitamins every day. I often get asked, “What happens if I don’t take my vitamins?” Here is my story about why vitamin compliance is a critical habit for weight loss surgery patients to learn.
It was late. Way late. So late, in fact, that I almost
wondered why I was bothering with dinner at all. The day had been an absolute
disaster and I’d have loved to sink into bed and pray for a better tomorrow, but
unfortunately my two young children were hungry – and none too amused that it
was 9 p.m. and they had not yet been fed dinner!
love chili, especially spicy chili. I figured this was perfect because it doesn’t
take long to make, it produces lots of leftovers, and those leftovers taste
better with each passing day.
onions and green peppers, browning ground turkey and draining cans of beans. It
only took me about 30 minutes to make the chili and when it was done I called
my children down to help set the table. I was determined we’d sit down to eat
work. I pointed to the cabinet to ask her to hand me a…a…
called? The thing. That you put soup in. And chili in. The thing???
|Forgetting the word for “bowl” scared me and made me get my short-term memory loss checked out!|
stressed, I forgot the word for bowl.
you can understand why I was freaked out by this incident. But as I thought
about it later that night, I realized that my memory had been fairly shoddy
lately. I’d walk into a room and not remember why I was there. I’d put my keys
down and just a minute later couldn’t find them. And heaven help me if I didn’t
immediately put an event on a calendar. I missed quite a few because I failed
to jot it down, then forgot it completely.
loss. When I went to the doctor to inquire about mine, the doctor ordered labs
and when they came back I got a stern talking to. My doctor asked one simple
question that “outed” me, “Have you been taking your b12 supplement regularly?”
instructed to do so monthly. One fact I’ve since learned is that the less often
I am required to do something, the more likely I am to forget to do it. So I
forgot my monthly injection – for many, many, many months.
my short-term memory problems (after all I was also a working single mother and
that carries a certain amount of stress which can also exacerbate short-term
memory problems), the fact that mine was low at the time led us both to believe
it was contributing to my problems. Again, my past freaked me out.
first he was thought to have developed Alzheimer’s Disease – a disorder that
can only be 100% confirmed after death. As it turns out, he did not have
Alzheimer’s Disease, but a very severe b12 deficiency. So hearing that I was
low kind of scared me straight.
could switch to a more regular regimen of taking b12. My doctor told me that I
could switch to a daily sublingual tablet (one that melts under the tongue)
instead of doing the monthly shot. (IMPORTANT: When figuring out what’s best
for you, ALWAYS talk to your own doctor. My method and your method may not be
remind me to take ALL my vitamins, not just b12. It was easy to set up and I
get daily reminders for all my vitamin doses. I still am not perfect about
vitamins all the time but at least the reminder is there and persistent.
problems might not go away, so I had to work with them and not against them. So
I put my bottle of b12 tablets next to my toothbrush. I brush my teeth every
day. When I brush my teeth, I see the bottle and I take my b12. I am the same
way now with most things I want to remember. Put something I don’t want to
forget next to something I can’t forget. I put my work ID next to my house
keys, and my car keys are attached to my house keys, etc.
whatever YOU need to do to stick to your vitamin regimen. In my case it vitamin B12 was low, but you can have many different kinds of deficiencies and they can cause many different kinds of problems. Here are a few things to think about:
Vitamin deficiencies can take a while to show up
in lab work. I get a lot of folks who are a year or so post-op who tout their
good lab numbers despite not being vitamin compliant. Remember your body
usually has a store of vitamins it can draw on when deficient. Unfortunately
that means that in some cases when your lab work comes back with a deficiency
the stuff has actually hit the fan.
Some deficiencies can cause permanent damage.
B12 deficiency is one of them. If you have severe memory loss, nerve damage,
etc. as a result of this deficiency it can be irreparable and sometimes the
best your medical team can do is help you manage.
WLS patients have DIED because of vitamin deficiencies.
I don’t say that to upset you but to let you know this IS important. Failing to
take your vitamins doesn’t have the same immediate negative effects as, say,
eating sugar and dumping but it can be so much more harmful!
take this week’s #BFHolidayChallenge, but to figure out a good, convenient and,
most of all, sustainable system for
taking your vitamins. Because you have to do it – for the rest of your life.
comments below. I’m happy to answer.
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