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GI issues when re-gaining weight


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I lost quite a bit of weight after surgery to get my tonsils out 9 months ago (opiates make me puke so I only had paracetemol/tylenol). Then lost even more when I got (more) depressed and lost my appetite plus, you know, the will to eat enough to stay healthy. Not exactly anorexia (luckily I don't have any body image stuff to deal with) but I was starving myself anyway.

 

Now I'm seeing a dietitian and I've gained back 7 lbs froms my lowest weight, although I've still got about 14 to go. Unfortunately my digestive system is rebelling after being starved for months and I'm getting bloating, cramping, nausea and constipation. And I feel full, even when I shouldn't be. This is making it kind of difficult to eat enough to follow my meal plan and sometimes it really fricking hurts. 

 

My dietitian suggested easing up a bit on bread and pasta and eating more low gluten carbs, avoiding certain fruit and veg and drinking lots of fluids. Does anyone have any other tips for something I can do so this eases off a bit?

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Hi Squish,

I am happy to hear you are taking care of your health. Walking helped me although I realize exercise is not encouraged in regain so maybe call your dietician and get the ok first. I wish you all the best in your recovery.

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I was thinking to try and eat calorie-dense foods, like dried apricots, prunes, raisins, etc.  If you eat bread I'd try whole grains, like the bread that has more calories per slice (ie not diet bread).  There are a lot of whole grain breads out there.  What about peanut butter?  Or make a frappe with ice cream, whole milk, a banana or some other fruit in it?  There is low carb pasta out there too which tastes just like regular pasta, named DREAMFIELD'S pasta. 

 

Hopes this helps.

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I made higher-calorie versions of everything.

Instead of sautée'ing vegetables in 1 tbsp of oil (or using cooking spray) I'd use about three, for example. I put lots of butter in things, too.

Sometimes the pain was too much and I'd have to rely on Ensure instead. It's a liquid, so it's a bit kinder on your digestive system when you actually can't do it because it's too much.

 

I hope that you can find things that work for you.

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Thanks guys.

 

WR, you've reminded me that I need to stock up on some ensure type drinks (I prefer a different one that tastes a bit better). I've been trying to do this with just normal food but I'm really struggling so I think I might keep some around for now. I could have done with some today actually, I would have got sick if I'd eaten as much as I wanted to.

 

Melissa, peanut butter! I love the stuff, an almost unreasonable amount. I might experiment with a banana peanut butter milkshake thing later.

 

Skye, nope everyone is encouraging me to exercise (my main problem is depression, so maybe that's why). I'm not terribly successful at walking every day though, so I should probably do that!

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  • 2 months later...

Update: I'm about half way back to where I want to be, still gaining but not as quickly as I'd like. I'm plateauing a bit, I think, even though I've started using supplements as well.

Almost all of the pain/bloating/constipation is gone though! I'm still having to avoid some foods (bread, how I miss you) but I'm feeling much better.

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Careful with peanut butter, it makes my stomach feel worse, but you if you can, maybe try nutella too if you get sick of PB, it has similar caloric content. Nuts make my stomach hurt horribly though, hopefully you can handle it. Bread messes with me too, maybe try a Paleo recipe or like someone else said, whole grain. I stay away from pasta, tomatoes, spicy anything, dairy is my enemy right now. Sometimes Red meat can do a number too. Fish, Chicken, lean meats, green veggies, those are great. ENsure does make a HI-CAL as well as a HI-Protein, and your health insurance may cover it if you have a DX of ED, I think though that they only have chocolate and vanilla last time I checked, berry has been discontinued.

 

Maybe you should see a GI specialist...that is what I had to do. My pain became unbearable. At worse they scope you, you dont feel a thing and will be under, I am having mine on the 25th actually, maybe there is some underlying condition or irritation. I know when I went a long time with out eating and this was, 10 years ago, but it hurt to eat, I had to eat slowly and in small portions, I ate like a quarter cup an hour, so I was literally eating all day, but it takes 20 min for your stomach to tell your brain if you are hungry and 1-2 hours to digest what is in there. Slow and deliberate small portions just a bunch of portions may be your best bet. 

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Nuts seem to be fine, luckily. Anything spicy, wheat based things, large amounts of starchy food and beans/pulses/lentils/chickpeas seem to be the worst. I'm using a lot of paleo recipes but they're awfully filling. I'm also taking probiotics and hoping they help too.

 

I'm sorry your pain is so bad. I hope the GI specialist is helpful and you get some relief. I have almost no pain now, just nausea and a bit of discomfort, so I hope that will eventually sort itself out.

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At one point I was very underweight as a result of two months of doing meth and not eating at all. I have a theory that my stomach sort of shrank a lot. I found it hard to eat enough to gain any weight. I just felt full really quickly. I found mass gaining protein shakes helpful.

 

The key with these is you need to drink it AFTER you've eaten. And drink it quickly, so by the time it all hits you, you've already consumed the calories and just sit there feeling full. I would have a shake immediately after each meal. It's a lot easier to suck down a milkshake than keep eating when you're full.

 

ETA: I just realized that those shakes might not be so good for your GI issues.. Hmm, maybe ignore this post.

Edited by mcjimjam
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First, congratulations on getting in order. That's a big step. You should be proud of yourself!

Nuts can cause extra pooping.. for lack of a better description. They're great in moderation, though. And so tasty. When I broke my jaw and it was wired shut, I would pour flavourless protein shake stuff into everything I drank. Ensure tastes like shit. I tried that during my wired-shut stage. I would make smoothies with fruits, yogurt and a cup of powder. It didn't have a taste. It is a bit pricey, but there's a LOT to one of those buckets.

 

What about cereals? Can you do dairy, or other types of milks? After my jaw was unwired I lived on cereal for a few weeks. Huge selection.

 

Something fiber regulating can be discussed. It can help get you regular again. 

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Thanks. :)

 

I've been finding it a lot more difficult than I expected

Extra pooping is... not a problem for me. Still, maybe I should ease up on them a bit. They're just so convenient! I'll have to get some flavourless protein shake stuff and try it. I have a lot of fruit and yoghurt smoothies so it would be easy to chuck some in.

 

Ensure is kind of gross but I have a different brand that tastes not too bad. And it's cheaper, I think? Well, the vanilla is OK. I'm really, really tired all the time so I sometimes just drink that if I'm too tired to organise/eat proper food.

I haven't been eating much cereal, partly because I can't handle lots of starchy food. A non wheat one might be ok though. And I should have more milk too. (Dairy seems to be fine. As far as I know, I'd have to cut it out to see if that made a difference and now is not a good time to be cutting out food groups.) :(

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