When it comes to liver shrink diets, they vary wildly from surgeon to surgeon. Some don’t even do them! Remember to stick to your surgeons plan and not any one else’s. For reference if you’re wondering what a liver shrink diet might look like, I cover my plan here. Here are some of the tips I have from surviving my 2 week liver shrink diet without any cheating!
- Find a protein shake you like before surgery. Make sure it adheres to your surgeon’s guidelines. Not having a protein shake you like before the pre-op diet starts can make it miserable. Go through the taste testing first so you are ready with something you enjoy before your diet starts. Buy sample packs, small packs, or steal a couple scoops from friends before buying huge tubs of the stuff. GNC will let you return it, but avoiding that is best. They take just about everything except your SSN in order to return something. Having a couple different ones can help avoid being so repetitive since you will most likely be drinking 3+ per day. A list of shakes I enjoy can be found here. Get a blender to blend shakes with ice to change them up. Don’t be fooled – you don’t need a fancy 200 dollar one. My $13 Hamilton Beach blender makes perfect smoothies and even handled puree foods right after surgery!
- Know your rules inside and out and know that there are no exceptions to them. Don’t let yourself think that it is at all acceptable or okay to cheat on this diet. You’re only making things worse for yourself if you do that. The pre-op diet shrinks your liver. This makes it easier for your surgeon and reduces the risk of complications such as having a nicked organ along with your surgery. This is for you. Take this diet as a test of your dedication to this journey. Here more than ever it really can directly effect you, so don’t go into it thinking that you can’t do it and it will be okay if you cheat, because with that mindset you will end up caving. Go into it with a positive attitude and know that it is part of the journey to get you to your goals – which won’t be a piece of cake, but it will be worth it!
- Don’t think that less is better. Of course, check with your surgeon, but for me I was not allowed to have less than 3 shakes per day. Another reason for the pre-op diet is to build protein stores in your body to make the healing process quicker and less draining on your body. This is something I never heard about from anyone pre-op until I had my NUT’s pre-op diet class. Make sure you know your surgeons rules and stick to them – they are there to make this whole process easier and if you stick to them you’ll be amazed at how true they are! I followed all of my surgeons rules regarding diet to a T before and after surgery and I believe I had an incredibly easy recovery because of this.
- Drink water. Drink more water. Drink even more water. Unless you’re in the bathroom every hour, you’re not doing it right. The more water I drank, the less I thought about food. The more water I drank, the longer that headache stayed at bay. And, being attached to a water source at all times is great training for, well, the rest of your life post surgery! Water, water, water. Find SF mixes (if you’re allowed) and have different flavors available to you during this time as well as post surgery.