Reclaim Your Precious Pouch
by Kaye Bailey
From the emails I received and conversations in the Neighborhood it seems quite common to wonder, "Does my pouch still work?" This question comes when it feels like we are eating more volume, or perhaps we have gained a bit of weight. There are many theories about legends about pouch stretch and "blown staples" as the outside world tries to explain why a weight loss surgery patient regains weight. I have heard claims that the pouch can stretch to the size of football, that staples can rupture and the pouch grow back with the distended stomach and even stories that the pouch "didn't work for me." The general belief in the bariatric surgical community is that the stomach may "relax" after surgery but not by much.
What makes it feel like it's stretched is often related to the foods we eat. Moist soft foods or soft processed carbs, commonly called "slider" foods because they slide right through the pouch and out the stoma, therefore one never feels full. If we are drinking a beverage with a meal it creates a fluid river for the food to move along through the intestine. If one is eating soft slider foods and drinking as they eat chances are the pouch is working just fine, it's the behavior that needs a correction.
About four years post-op I was concerned my pouch wasn't working because I could eat so much. Yes, you guessed it, I was into the slider foods because I'd lost track of my program and honestly, it is more comfortable to eat soft foods than it is to eat solids. I turned to my bariatic manual from my center and revisited the rules. The first thing I wanted to know was if my pouch still worked. Then, through trial and error I developed a Five-Day Pouch Test (article below) that not only works to test the pouch, it helps to bring me back on track and it triggers weight loss. It actually mimics the post-surgery eating stages.
If you doubt your pouch or just need to get back to basics and away from a carb cycle I challenge you to give this plan a try. It's only five days and by the end of the test you will feel cleansed and confident that your tool is working and you are capable of working your tool. Give it a try and let me know how you do!
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