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Anyone trying to lose weight after Lumbar fusion? Need motivation!

mistymaammmistymaam Posts: 63
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I know to ask my doctor specific questions regarding safe weight loss...but does anyone have experience in trying or successfully (and I might add-healthfully) losing weight after a lumbar fusion? Can you give me some tips for ongoing motivation or snacks you had? I am trying to stay in the 1400-1600 calorie range, incorporating oranges/fruit, veggies, and whole grains. I finally feel good enough to go for mile long walks now and am itching to lose some poundage I added in the last year of moderate to severe pain! :) I also take a daily multivitamin and started taking a Caltrate equivalent supplement. Anyone have advice to give is greatly appreciated! Have a nice evening.



  • I have been to Weight Watchers so many times over the years that I had a good solid base of how to eat. Heavy focus on the fiber and veggies.

    I started 2009 with 80 lbs to lose and my goal was to lose 40 of it.

    I have lost about 35 so far, so I am on track. I don't deny myself anything that I want, I just eat a lot less of it. I have to measure out my red wine (my weakness)

    I walk 15-20 minutes a day regardless of the weather.

    Hopefully, these are habits that will stay with me.
  • Thanks for your reply, I needed to hear someone who is successfully losing weight. I am so glad for your weight loss! I am finally in my frame of mind where I feel in control of my life; enough to lose weight in a healthy manner. You sound like you are doing really well.

    Take care,

  • Hi,

    It sounds like you have a good plan as far as the caloric range and more fruits, veggies, and whole grains.

    What is super important is that you make sure that while cutting calories you are still getting ample: protein, vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin D, and calcium. These are critical nutrients for bone growth. You should have these bases covered with the supplements, but just make sure you don't cut your protein too low. Also, it is probably best to take the calcium supplement apart from a meal that is heavy in calcium already to get the maximum absorption (ie, I always have milk with breakfast. so I wait and take my calcium with lunch where I don't have a dairy food).

    I think the hardest part about weight control post-surgery is not really the food itself, but just the fact that recovery is so boring. I tend to graze all day when I'm around the house, and recovering from surgery has me stuck at home. One idea is to try a food journal where you write down what you eat and any sort of thoughts/feelings etc. just to make you more aware of what you are eating and to cue you in to any boredom or emotional eating. It sounds a little silly, but just writing things down can make a big difference in eating patterns.
  • as I've lost 12 lbs in the 3 weeks following surgery. It helped for the first week that I had no appetite lol but I still forced myself to eat as of course I need good nutrition for my recovery. The biggest change I've made are to have protein shakes once or twice a day. I've been using a whey protein powder that has about 26g of protein per scoop. Sometimes I just mix a scoop or two with some vanilla silk (mostly because I'm lactose intolerant). But usually I make a fruit smoothie with yogurt and fruit. The balanced protein and carb mix of the fruit and protein powder is a really good and healthy way to lose weight, and will keep you from having cravings for a lot of bad stuff like low carb diets can cause. Plus the high protein wil keep you fuller longer. My favorite shake is banana, pineapple, and coconut & rum extracts. Super yummy!

    Munchies are easy for me because I love things like cucumbers and baby carrots so I just munch on those in between shakes/meals. The best is cucumbers sliced up with a little low fat italian dressing.

    Hope that helps a little. Good luck!
  • I definitely think I need a diet journal. Very good idea! I hear ya about the boredom! I told my husband a week after my PLIf I needed arts and crafts supplies. I went to Hobby Lobby and got an easel, paints, etc... I love to do artsy fartsy stuff, so I do a little at a time. I also decided that since I am not going to school this semester, I would put together Halloween treat bags with pencils and erasers/stickers for my neighborhood...I live in a town of 1300 people and have one elementary and one high school! I have been putting these together since this afternoon to keep me busy.

    I am, indeed, an emotional eater. I have an excuse to eat any time of the day! If I'm sad...I eat. If I'm happy...I eat. You get the picture!


    Take care,
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Keep your carbs in control. A few years ago my husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and we went to 6 weeks of "diabetes school" (one 2 hr class per week for 6 wk). I went along with the diet plan and lost 20 lbs in the months after just counting carbs. My husband lost 30 and we've both kept it off (and he's now off meds for the diabetes) We actually got away from fruit smoothies (or we make small ones) and keep snacks to 15 net carbs (carbs - fiber = net carbs). I like yogurt and breads and now just pick the ones with less carbs. I'd see yogurts that had 30-45 carbs per serving. Even ones that were "light". So I now read the label and have found some great choices in yogurt, breads and pastas. Everyone is different but we went with 50 carbs per meal (3 meals a day) and 15 carbs per snack (3 snacks a day).

    I also buy lower fat cheeses, skim milk, etc and we take fiber supplements. And protein is key. Protein and fiber in the diet will keep you feeling full.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • My mom was diagnosed with Type II two years ago. The last few months, though, she has had to go on Metformin. This jump started my resolve to lose the weight and keep it off! I was thinking about doing the lower carb diet (not Atkin's) as I think I am very sensitive to carbs. I think if I have some good veggies, like broccoli and spinach, etc... and fruits each day, I can do it. Like some mentioned before, boredom is my foe. I can be in the house thinking...chips, ice cream... I've been eating low-fat cottage cheese with apples and other fruit, lately. Thanks for all the tips! All are greatly appreciated!

    Take care,
  • I love the idea of protein shakes. I looove baby carrots and cucumbers. I love bananas...but they do a number on me! I think I might go to GNC and get some whey powder! Thanks for the great ideas. I think I'll go get some cukes and slice em up. Yum, yum, yum... I wish I could drop the lbs like you...you lucky ducky!

    Take care,

  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084

    I found the secret is finding the right snacks and having a ton of them on hand in the house. For example, we found some great ice cream treats that were under 20 net carbs and we keep them on stock so when we get the craving we don't head to DQ. I just don't buy regular ice cream unless we have to. I also like the mini-Clif bars (new) and 100 calorie snacks. Part of it, at least for me, is also portion control. That's why I love the pre-packaged sized good snacks!
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 

  • I started on South Beach shortly after my surgery due to the weight I'd put on when I couldn't really move. I'd done it a few years back w/ success, found it easy to follow as you don't have to focus on weighing, measuring or counting carb grams. There are 3 stages to this diet, I'm currently doing stage 2 where you start introducing 'good' carbs. The diet encourages you to have lean protein, low fat calcium rich foods and high fiber - all good things for us spineys. One of the other things about this diet that I like and think make it workable is there really isn't a feeling of being deprived, it encourages 3 meals a day along w/ 3 small snacks. Hope this helps
  • I am 7 months post op and gained 10 lbs after surgery and I have lost 12.......I would still like to lose 15 more lbs. I started drinking slimfast shakes for lunch and walking on my lunch hour and lost 12 lbs in about 6 weeks. I'm taking steroids and neurontin, so losing weight is very difficult and I know that I'm not going to lose it overnight.
  • Hi Misty, I admire your desire to loose weight so soon after surgery. As you know there are many fad diets out there. The reality is the key to weight loss is very basic, burn more calories then you consume on a daily basis. Regardless of what you eat or dont eat, if you burn more then you consume you will loose weight. Period. Health is determined by what you eat. If all of your calories come from cake icecream and chips, but you burn more then you consume, you will loose weight, you wont be healthy, but you will loose weight. If you have a perfectly balanced diet but consume more calories then you burn you will gain weight. Finding the balance between healthy calories and exercise is what makes healthy bodies. Lucky for us spineys, walking is excellent exercise for folks without joint problems. With our BLT restrictions (activity not food :) ) we can still get some "aerobic" exercise. Please keep us posted. Please be carefull as you are still early in your recovery.
    God Bless and Keep you.
  • I am so glad they created the 100 calorie snacks sizes! I have been able to get the Mr. Salty chocolate covered pretzels and have those as a "give in to the chocolate craving" I get at that special time of the month! B Bunny ice cream has the no sugar added variety that I really love...the net carbs are pretty low. I am so glad to be getting these tips and such now as I have allowed my husband to buy me fast food in the last month...and I can't do it anymore. So, yesterday, I told him, "Get your Chinese food-you want to eat, and you can get me some Sweet and sour soup!" This way I can eat the soup and have some protein that I already have on hand! I found soup fills me up to the point where I don't feel the need to eat unnecessarilly. Thanks for the tips...I am getting more and more motivated! Yay!

    Take care,

  • I have been thinking about SBD for a while. I lost a lot on Atkins and maintained for a while as I worked my way back to "normal" & "healthy" carbs. As soon as I started getting the spasms and sciatica...the weight came back...because I am such a darn emotional eater. I think I may get the book on this diet. I don't mean to pry, but, how are you doing? Do you feel better? Losing a healthy amount? Just curious as I noticed the less carbs I eat, the better I feel-attitude, general well-being, etc... Thanks for the tips! I also had my husband get out my "skinny" pics and I posted it as my Desktop wallpaper. Wow! What happened to me? EEEks? Oh, I can do it. Once again, thanks.

  • Thanks for your tip...I just had a Slimfast shake this morning...I noticed that the shakes have chromium. I feel like I get less shaky (when meal time come around)when it comes to having my daily does of chromium. I am pretty sure if I gained too much more weight I would have type !! diabetes-just from my sensitivity to sugar and complex carbs. Congrats on your 12 lbs lost! I am rooting for everyone who is on their quest to a healthier weight! Take care,
  • Thanks for your reply...I do think in our quest for weight loss some folks see the fad diets as being the "holy grail" of losing weight. But, like you said, it all boils down to calories consumed and how much we exercise. I have been dieting for about 1 week now, and I am bound and determined not to weigh myself until I notice my clothes fitting differently. I only get frustrated with the scale as it simply dissappoints me! :) Plus, I can gain about three-4 lbs in a day! I hear ya about the walking. I went for a mile long walk and thought I would pay for it later...however, I actually felt my endorphins instead of pulling and spasms! Yahoo!

    Thanks so much,

  • Thanks for your reply...I do think in our quest for weight loss some folks see the fad diets as being the "holy grail" of losing weight. But, like you said, it all boils down to calories consumed and how much we exercise. I have been dieting for about 1 week now, and I am bound and determined not to weigh myself until I notice my clothes fitting differently. I only get frustrated with the scale as it simply dissappoints me! :) Plus, I can gain about three-4 lbs in a day! I hear ya about the walking. I went for a mile long walk and thought I would pay for it later...however, I actually felt my endorphins instead of pulling and spasms! Yahoo!

    Thanks so much,

  • Hi Misty,

    You're not prying, this is what I find is so good about this site, a group dealing w/ life altering health issues that share how they get around living their lives to the best of their ability and supporting each other thru the process.
    Happy to say I feel pretty good & am improving tho' it's a slow process - hard for me since I'm generally very impatient w/ myself. I'd put on about 20 lbs in 3 months ( :jawdrop: ) since moving become virtually impossible w/ all the presurgical problems. Since I'm vertically challenged, the weight gain bummed me out bigtime since it looked like a lot more than 20 lbs. There I was lurching around like Quasimodo, can't feel my leg/foot, in pain and none of my clothes fit! Weight loss has been steady since about 2 weeks out from surgery - approx 1 1/2 lbs per week which is fine since a slow steady loss tends to stay more permanent. I'm now targeting to lose 25 lbs total from my presurgical high; my thinking here is since I know what my issues are anything I can do to lessen the burden my joints/spine have to carry will only benefit me long term. I've been religious about doing my stretches daily, walking as much as possible (got a pedometer and try to walk more steps daily), doing light workouts @ gym; elliptical, treadmill, weights (20 lbs max). I estimate I now have about 80% of function back tho' there is still some numbness/weakness in my foot. Very hopeful it will continue to get better w/ time. The book is helpful, Google SBD and you'll find the web site as well - gives some helpful info. As far as the food goes, no complaints since there is such a good variety even w/ the early stages that restrict carbs. Dinner tonight was roasted salmon with lemon and capers, steamed green beans with a splash of olive oil and chopped fresh dill, sliced tomatoes w/ feta cheese. Dessert was sugar free vanilla pudding with a sprinkling of slivered almonds and cinnamon. The other thing I like is that you don't have to buy very many 'special' foods - basically I get some Equal, sugar free jello/pudding/popsicles and stock up on the seltzer since I can't stand diet soda. Hubby likes it too since the food dosen't seem to be 'diet' type either. Hope this helps.
  • I mentioned in a previous reply about my exercising, but as for weight loss - I'll let you know the whole scoop:

    I started out at 6 months post-op with some PT. Very MILD PT, but still, regular exercise. I lost about 15 lbs in 5 months with just exercise. Last summer my ankle dr. told me to really cut back on the excerise, it was making my ankle worse.

    So, I figured diet was my only option.

    I started eating ONLY ...

    Fresh Fruits
    Lean Meats

    No Carbs, No Cheese, No Sugars, No Fats, No soda.

    I do use a LOT of spices - found some really good tasty recipes by googling all the HCG diet blogs - the good food keeps me happy and going, I don't feel like I'm lacking anything.

    Now I still eat REALLY good food, steak, fresh veggies, pulled pork (no BBQ sauce, just spices), the occasional lowfat yogurt or small glass of milk, fresh berry smoothies,lemon juice with salt and pepper on my chicken or steak or tuna topped salads...Oh, and about 100 ounces of water a day :)

    It was HARD at first! I was a Diet Pepsi freak, I pretty much ONLY ate bread and cheese with the occasional (ok, more than occasional) cookie.

    I've lost another 25 lbs. I went from a Women's size 12 to a Junior size 6. Yes, I've had to shop in the jr. section to keep the pants from falling off my hips! Me, a mother of 3 in her mid-40's!

    Cutting the soda is what slimmed my middle. I started drinking some again recently, and although I didn't gain any weight my waist went up 3"!!! I stopped drinking it again a few weeks ago and am back down 2 of those 3".

    I've continued working out - still just mild weights. Nothing that makes my ankle work too hard. I don't do it for weight loss now, but for strength and tone - got to keep that core strong for my healing back ya know :)

    PM me if you've got questions. You can do it!
  • I too have gained about 20 lbs over the course of the last several months...I told myself I need to lose about 35...with 10 lbs being my goal by "Decemberish." I know I will be able to make it as I am no longer in pain telling myself that food will make me feel better :) AND...I, too, am a short gal...I am 5'1" and 20 additional lbs makes me look like I gained 50!...I walk around in sweats with a dual purpose...not just cause I'm 1 month post surgery, but I can hide behind them, as well;) Oh well, I guess we need to put things in persepective...we are trying to become better in spite of the physical and emotional challenges we face everyday. We should be pretty darn proud of ourselves...now everyone-with me?...pat ourselves on the back!

    I love salmon! I have a freezer full of frozen fish! It sounds weird, but when I go low-carb...I feel I have a LOT more energy...Plus, I don't lose my hair if I eat plenty of protein. I am so glad to have seen how others are in the same boat---or have been---as myself. It makes me realize how much support a forum can provide.

    Thanks for the replies!! I find myself looking at all of the replies for help when I get the urge to eat something that is not "good" for me, or eat to excess!
  • You are truly an inspiration Saltz! These are the stories I like to hear...I sincerely mean that. I am really thinking about cooking some meals this weekend and freezing them for when my hubby wants to eat fast food! Before my back went bad-again...I was on a relatively low carb diet...hardly any sugar, a lot of veggies/fruits and meats. I also was a size 6 then...whimper, whimper! But, I figure, I will be able to get healthy now as I have no excuses at this point to not get back to my size 6's! That is so cute that you had to go to the junior's dpt. to get pants...it's such a boost to the ego. I think I have made up my mind to start cutting out the soda, too. That is majorly an addiction for me.

    Thank you, Thank you for all the tips!

  • If I may suggest without offending anyone. There is a free website called sparkpeople.com that offers TONS of weight loss information and support. They even have a group for people with back injuries who are trying to lose weight there - just an idea :)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • MsHumpty - I signed up for Sparkpeople too - it was part of my 'information gathering' prep time. :)

    Oh, and Mistym - On my day off I would just cook up all my food (meat mostly), pack it up in 6 oz. portions in the freezer and then it was quick, easy and ready at a moments notice each morning.

    I found that the under 4$ HUGE container of Organic Salad greens at Costco was fantastic. Also, after ordering a few Costco salads in the foodcourt, I saved the containers and that's what I'd take my homemade salad to work in each day. One salad tray, the frozen meat a lemon and some fruit. Re-heat the meat just before putting it on the lettuce. It's also saved me a lot of money!
  • Hey back Misty,

    I'm 5'2" so I know exactly where you're coming from, I spent the Summer in Empire style waist sundresses, kept the pressure off the incision sites and helped hide how broad in the beam I'd become. I'm now able to get back into my yoga pants, hopefully, I'll be back in my jeans soon. You're right about the low carb plans, lots more energy and you don't really get that draggy feeling even if you eat a bit more than usual. We have salmon about once a week, tastes good & there are also the heart & joint benefits from it too. I have a spiney mantra that seems to apply to everything now, Baby steps, it'll take a while to get there, but I WILL~

  • I did not know they had a place for spineys! Thanks for the tip...

    Have a Nice afternoon!

  • That is an EXCELLENT idea! I am a salad fiend! However, I used to live in a bigger city and now live in a rural area where the nearest town has no Costco. :( But, I can still get big plastic containers of salad with spinach (my fave).
  • I too, cannot wait until I can put jeans on and not make my incision uncomfortable! Plus, I look better wearing my Riders that flatten my tummy! Oh, weight loss here I come! The last week I calculated I lost about 6 lbs, albiet, mostly water weight...but it's just the beginning. I will slow down to about 1 or 2 lbs a week. Slow and steady wins the race!

    Have a wonderful afternoon,

  • I am so late to this post, but can sympathize with you! I can relate!!! Just keep moving as much as you can and if you keep eating small meals and small snacks eventually your stomach does shrink and you want to eat less. You are beautiful and you will do well!!
    Good Luck,
  • Thank you for your kind, kind post! I noticed that in the last few days I no longer have the incessant growling of my tummy. :) I started having 200 calorie mini-meals with fruit as my snacks. I noticed your profile pic, you are running! This was after your fusion? I am not built for running, but that is so cool to think I will be more functional later!

    Thanks for the reply!

  • Yes I was running, but this was before my surgery. Actually this is a picture of me in my first 5k run. I used to weigh 236# and several years ago, started jogging and eventually lost 70# and was able to run in a half marathon in Napa, Ca. Was the proudest moment of my life, unfortunatly my back deteriorated so quickly, last year I was in so much pain and could barely walk. I miss the running so much, but am trying to come up with something else I will enjoy just as much. Take care and keep up the good work!!
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