I tapped back in specifically to check to see how you were doing in case you had posted any plea for information - after all, we started this at the same time.
I can understand now why your weight loss is more of a concern than mine - you lost more than me and started closer to your normal weight than I did. It makes total sense that you don't have energy to deal with work when you need all your strength right now just to perform basic functions. I'm glad you have an appointment with the GI doctor - sounds like that's a good route to take. He'll be able to address the constipation and weight issue better than the surgeon.
I do not feel too full after drinking water - unless I get really thirsty and so something dumb like try to chug a large glass or an entire bottle. I don't just take small sips, but I try to limit the amount I swallow at a time otherwise I feel a bit uncomfortable for a little while. I do drink herbal tea throughout the day so I get my liquids in forms other than plain water.
No, my surgeon never mentioned to avoid straining to "go" but it's something that I had heard somewhere that it was good to avoid. I did recently have a period of constipation and totally understand now about the reason for not straining - I thought for sure I was going to blow the stitches. I tried a softener (Dulcolax) which put me too far in the other direction. So once things "slowed down", I modified my eating to include more fiber and more veggies and have had no problems since. I have a great recipe for a super yummy muffin that has raisins, banana, whole wheat flour, apples and applesauce - one for breakfast each day seems to be keeping things "moving" nicely. I'll share the recipe if you are interested. My veggies have increased to garden salads, spinach, beets, green beans and peas as well as the carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes I had started with. Once I began adding different colors, things got much better in the bowel department even though I don't drink as much water as I should. I still don't feel totally great after eating beef (although it's yummy going down) and pork is a no-no for the sphincter issue, so most of my protein comes from fish and poultry. Other than a banana, I haven't tried fresh fruit yet - I'm sure it will be fine because everything goes down nicely now, I just haven't done fruit.
Yes, I had the hiatal hernia repair.
You mentioned eating liver. Just a thought - iron is constipating, do you think that might be a contributing factor?
I'm glad you found the pyramid tracker. I like the way the site allows you to analyze your food intake by calories and by nutritional content. You'll be able to see what nutrients the foods you are eating contain and what vitamins/minerals are lacking with what you are currently eating. If nothing else, it will give you great information to take to the GI so you can give a visual of what you are consuming. He'll be so impressed with your pro-activeness to bring him solid information.