Monday, May 24, 2010

Cottage Cheese Test - 20 months

I've been feeling like I can eat more lately. In fact, I know I can. So I was worried that my sleeve had grown too much. Except, once in a while, I will not be able to eat any more than I could eat at 6 months out. It was confusing.

I decided to do The Cottage Cheese Test to see if my sleeve is any bigger.

The Cottage Cheese Test, for those who haven't heard of it, is when you eat as much cottage cheese as you can in 5 minutes. Or until you can't eat any more. Whichever comes first. You start with a full container and measure what is left and that tells you how many ounces your stomach can hold. It works because an ounce of cottage cheese weighs an ounce and because it's soft enough to get down without chewing so that variable is taken out of the equation.

So I did this for my breakfast this morning. I probably could have eaten more but I got bogged down pretty fast and did the last part pretty slowly in order not to vomit. When the five minutes were up, I'd consumed 5.17 oz. Which is about what I had consumed the last time I did this test back when I was eight months out -- one year ago!

Which begs the question: why can I eat more? I think it's because I am eating differently and also because I'm eating different things. For example, today I had two cheese sticks and a bunch of carrots. In the past, I wouldn't have had room for the carrots. But I also would have tried for a third cheese stick and it probably would have been uncomfortable. Instead, I had carrots and was easily able to eat 10 baby carrots. Before I wouldn't have tried that -- cheese and carrots together -- so who knows if I could have eaten them or not?

I also think that eating carbs -- starchy ones, not veggies and fruit -- helps the food exit the stomach faster because it goes to mush faster. (Our pylorus valve opens up when mushy stuff hits it -- one of the reasons we aren't supposed to drink with our meals.) So when I eat a combination of hard protein and starch together, I can eat more. For example, if I eat the tortilla and not just the chicken out of my McDonald's Snack Wrap. I used to just eat the chicken out because I was trying to lose weight, but now I eat the whole thing because I'm trying not to lose weight.

That's my theory anyway.

I do have to say that knowing my stomach hasn't gotten any bigger is very reassuring. This means, if I get to a point where I need to eat less, I just have to cut out the starch and I'll be back to my 8-10 month volumes of food. But, in the meantime, I can get in the calories I need while I train for my upcoming races.
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