Why we do the things we do

One of the big things anybody who frequents a weight loss surgery forum will hear is how the surgery is not a magic bullet. Contrary to what many people seem to think, it’s definitely NOT the easy way out. It can do a lot to fix our bodies, by helping us to eat less, but it can’t fix our minds. Unless we work on the issues that caused us to be obese, we are going to fail.

In my preparing to have surgery, I did a lot of soul searching. My surgeon had me on a fairly strict pre-op diet. I followed it as closely as I could, but did not restrict my calories near as much as they would be post surgery. One of my problems is that I was a volume eater.  I could eat a LOT at one sitting. Less than 1000 calories a day was going to leave me feeling as if I was starving and I was realistic enough to know I would sabotage myself if that was the case.

I started questioning why I ate. It wasn’t just because I was hungry or felt like I was constantly hungry. I ate for any number of reasons. I was definitely an emotional eater and a stress eater. I was never one of those people who lost my appetite when something stressful happened, it only made me want to eat more. Once I was able to identify that, I started looking for other things to do when feeling stressed, overwhelmed or even bored. I never realized how much eating filled in my boredom, too.

Habits can be very difficult to change but, I did it. Slowly but surely. Instead of food, I started reaching for water. If I absolutely could not get by without eating, I went for a healthier choice. Protein or even nuts (nuts like almonds are very good for you!).  I chose nutritious things that would fill me up faster and leave me feeling satisfied for longer. I looked for other distractions, like reading a book, or working on some artwork on my computer. Things that would occupy my brain.

Am I perfect? No way, but I know that by tackling these things and working on them, I will be more successful. I lost 54 pounds between September and May just by following my surgeon’s eating plan. I did not lose more until I did my two-week pre-op liquid diet in August, but I was okay with that. I did not gain an ounce of it back until I was in the hospital for my surgery, and then it was fluid gain from the IV.

What I did gain was self-confidence. By diligently following the program (though I did ‘cheat’ – that not perfect thing, you know), I proved to myself that I could do what it took to follow through post surgery. I still have issues to work through. I’m a work in progress. I’m realistic enough to know this. Once I am able to actually eat again, it will be interesting to see if any old habits start to rear their ugly heads.

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