Saturday, July 12, 2008

We'd do ANYTHING!

I was at my support group meeting last night and a conversation was started amongst the group with a new attendee who is looking into having surgery and is weighing her options. She asked a couple of "what if?" questions... Then, we got onto the subject of food tolerance. By food tolerance, I don't just mean becoming lactose intolerant or being a mega-dumper. I'm also referring to all the stories you hear as a preop person about all those foods you won't be able to eat after surgery. Another question this preop person asked our group was how we handled eating and dieting before surgery and avoided just eating to break the bank because of getting in one more time of all your old favorites before you have surgery and can no longer eat those foods--ever. Well, of course the first thing anyone told her was that it was not usually true that you can't eat those foods again... In many (heck, most!) cases, we've been able to eat about anything we'd like as a later postop, just in much smaller portions and some foods with less frequency...

This turned to a conversation about how things progress as you get farther and farther postop... Our support group leader said, "remember when we'd do ANYTHING!" She was referring to those first few months postop when you follow your surgeon's and nutritionist''s plan to a T. You do what you are told, when you are told and how you are told. You weighed/measured your foods. You charted everything you ate and/or drank. You didn't drink for 30 minutes before or 30 minutes after you ate. You exercised like there was no tomorrow! You made healthy snacks and toted a cooler with you when going out so that you could stick to your plan... Then, little by little and bit by bit, you started to change. You found restaurants where you could grab a quick bite while out instead of eating what you brought with you--even if fast food was a binge/trigger food for you. You started sipping while eating. You began to figure out what foods that you shouldn't really be eating would bother you or make you dump and in what amount you had to eat them before this happened. Again, you did this regardless of whether those foods (yummy cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing!) were perhaps part of your problem preop... Your healthy snacks became a bit less healthy... It began to feel like work getting that stuff ready... It was so much easier to grab something else. Chopping veggies to have something healthy and crunchy to snack on was much more work than just grabbing a big handful of those chips hubby snuck in on you. Boiling an egg takes time... You stopped tracking every bite you ate... "Normal" people eat that, right? Well, you did have this surgery to BE normal...

You come up with excuses to justify your little slips... "I had some chips this afternoon because there was nothing else where I stopped to grab a snack..." Yep, that may have been true, but it is likely you knew in advance that you'd be out today and need a snack while you were gone but failed to plan and pack something. And, for most folks, as you got nearer to your goal weight, you slacked off on your exercising as if it were something you only needed to LOSE weight, not just to keep it off. Don't forget, you had this surgery to be more normal and normal, healthy people exercise! I'm not criticizing you--I am guilty too!

The meeting moves on and we were talking about how many of us were doing okay, but would really have liked to lose another 15 or 20 pounds. One person had gotten down to a size 10, but was back up to a 14 and did not like it... What do we have to do to get those last few pounds off or to get back into those size 10s? We have to get back to the program! We left it, it didn't leave us! We know what to do. We know how to do it. It is within our reach. We just have to want it bad enough to DO it! We have to take the time to chop those veggies and have them ready. We have to boil a dozen eggs at a time and have them waiting in the fridge instead of making just enough for now or just enough for tomorrow's lunch... Eggs keep for a few days! We have to find better options even if it means carrying that cooler again! Find a snack food that is a good option for you and keep it in the car. Yes, during part of the year that food will have to be something that won't melt or spoil in the heat. But, that is part of the job we took on as postops... If we want to reach our goal weight OR even just maintain at the weight that we did reach, we have to be committed to it. We have to take the steps necessary and we MUST continue to exercise--even walking--on a regular basis in order to maintain...

Am I telling YOU what to do?? Heck no! (unless that is what you need! LOL) I am in a sort of a slump if you will... I reached my all time low of 197 pounds (down from 410) back in February of this year (2008). Before that, I wanted SO badly to get down to 185. I kept a vigilant food log. I exercised--not enough, but I did something every day. I weighed and/or measured my food. I carried a snack with me if I were going out for several hours. I told myself that I was going to see that 185 on the scale despite the fact that my loss had slowed to a measly pound or two a month and I had no hope for plastic surgery... Heck, as long as it was a loss and not a gain, it was all good! But, then I saw that magic number... I was at my support group meeting for February and though the scale had said 201 at home that morning, it said 198 at the doc's office before the meeting. I showed that baby to everyone! (doc's scale gives you a printed slip) HoooooAhhhhhhhhh! Then, at home that evening, it said--drum roll here--197.4. O M G!!! It wasn't just a discrepancy in the two scales! I went to bed that evening on TOP of the world! I had achieved onederland suddenly. For 18 months, I'd been telling people that my biggest goal in this journey was to get to a weight that began with a ONE and into a clothing size that began with a ONE... I had been into size 16 jeans for a very long time by February. Suddenly I had met both those goals--197 pounds (freaking right!!) and size 16 clothing... While a size 16 may not seem small to some, it was SO much smaller than the size 36W I started out in!

Life was good! And, for whatever reason, it was like a switch was flipped in my head. My goal of 185 pounds seems to have been vaporized from my head. It no longer mattered for some reason. Heck, it was like I never had that goal--though there it was, so plainly stated on my blog, my OH profile, in my siggy for OH... Suddenly, as long as I didn't gain, I didn't care if I lost either. And, I found myself setting a "safe zone" for my weight (197 to 205) and deciding that as long as I didn't fluctuate over that safe zone, all was right in the world and no reason for drastic change of any sort. Why, all of a sudden, was 197 to 205 good? Why was 185 no longer a valid goal? Who the hell knew... I stopped counting my calories and carbs. I totally stopped logging what I ate. I counted only protein grams to be sure I was getting in enough each day. I allowed the bad carbs (not just carbs in general, but WHITE, refined carbs--like the ones in cinnamon buns) to creep back into my food intake. I backed off on exercising and would have several days in a row where I did nothing of note to "move my body." Most days, that scale says something in the 205 pound range. Recently, thanks to water retention, I was all the way back up to 209. Was this cause for aggressive motion? Heck no! I'd still lost over 200 pounds... So, I consoled myself with that and changed nothing. Then, my ankles swelled up with the water retention (this was an issue preop for me) and I had to go back on the meds for it for a bit. Suddenly, as is the case when you get the water retention going back in the right direction, the scale that had gotten up to 209 pounds was down to 201 again! You see hope of maybe seeing a one at the beginning of that number again soon... And, if you are like me, you tell yourself that it was probably just water retention all along--ever since you got back over 200 way back in oh, May?? Or was it April? Yeah, it is now July!

SO, why was this lack of loss or, yeah, gain for some reason okay in my eyes? Who the hell knows! Why was I suddenly willing to stay over 200 pounds for the rest of my life? I wish I could tell you. Do I still wish to lose more weight? Well, yeah... Am I doing anything to move in that direction? Well, no... I know, deep in my heart, that I am not doing everything I could to lose or even maintain. I know that I could do more. I know what that "more" is too. Why can I not motivate myself to try--even a little? I want to get back that feeling of being willing to do ANYTHING to reach my goal! I'm just clueless as to how to get that feeling back...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Visit WholeAndNatural.com for lots of healthy snacks.

gharkness said...

Wow, so many thoughts! I feel your pain. As a 1 1/2 year postop at goal (I know, I still have a lot to learn) let me suggest that for ONE WEEK, you not tie your behavior to a "feeling," as in "getting the feeling back."

Sit down, write yourself a menu for everything you are going to eat for the week, buy that stuff only, and make a commitment to eat only that, no matter what. You can do it, and it will go a long way toward getting you back on track.

(In making your menu, let me suggest that you skip the carbs like rice, etc....they only set you up for cravings.) Just leave them entirely out of your one week menu and see if that helps. If it doesn't, you can always go back to eating them later! They aren't going anywhere!

Good luck and please let us know how it goes.

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