The Honeymoon Phase
The real goal of weight loss surgery is to take 100 pounds off your back while you get your act together and change your relationship with food and your habits and lifestyle in general.
That's it. It's not magic. The days where you lose weight almost daily for a few weeks at a time, them stall for a bit, lose inches for a bit then switch back to losing pounds again doesn’t last forever. And yes….I know you’re working hard. I know it’s not easy. But trust when I say it gets harder. This phase comes to a close sooner than you realize.
Bariatric Surgery is meant to give you a needed break where you get some of the weight off and you suddenly feel good enough about yourself and have the confidence in yourself that you can lose weight so you want it to last so badly that you willingly make the changes you need to make.
This weight loss euphoria will not last unless you learn why your old ways with food made you not just fat, but morbidly obese. I know that’s a harsh sentence to read but if you qualified for any type of Bariatric surgery, that’s precisely what your eating habits did to you. It wasn’t your bad knees, it wasn’t PCOS, it wasn’t genetics. Sure those things didn’t help, but at the end of the day, your eating habit got you into that weight loss surgeon’s office. Now you've got to own it and figure out how to not do it again because you can gain it all back if you don’t take notes while you lose the weight and make some very real changes that aren’t just eating less than you did before.
Oh, trust me. You will absolutely lose a lot of weight in your first 16 months no matter what you eat, but sadly its not you, its the surgery. If you do not take that time to reconstruct your life, you will be one of the ones wondering why the surgery didn’t work for them by year five for sure.
I can tell the ones in our Facebook support group who do not have a chance. They say they are picky eaters, they argue that their nutritionist said toast and tortillas are fine and that Splenda or Stevia makes them sick so they only use sugar. They talk about bowls of high fat meatballs with more carbs than protein fast food places. They are clinging to moderation and not giving up their one daily full sugar Starbucks drink while they’re out and about. They put bananas in their shakes 'for potassium' and snack on spoonfuls of peanut butter for extra protein then wonder why they’re still hungry a half hour later. And then complain about slow weight loss later that week, and later that month wonder in a post how to break a stall.
To be a Bariatric success story, become a keen observer as to how your so called naturally thin friends eat and live. If they order burgers and fries, watch what toppings they get. For years I thought my slim husband and I ate the same way until I realized he was getting butter and cheese on his baked potatoes while I got butter and sour cream and cheese and bacon. Or when he got a burger he got mustard no mayo, but I got everything. Little things like that actually add up fast. So watch how much the people around you actually eat. How much they leave behind. What they drink. When they eat do they take great big bites and gulp their drinks getting multiple refills? Or do they nibble and chat a lot? Are they the one who brings up ordering appetizers or a dessert “for the table”? When they order a cocktail do they get a glass of wine or vodka and soda, or a frozen margarita? Do they spend their Saturday mornings in the summer taking the dog for a long walk before it gets too hot? Are they always inviting you to join them at that class they take at the gym? When their kids are playing sports are they on the sidelines watching? Or walking around the field to get some steps in while they watch? Sometimes there’s a little more effort in being “naturally thin” than we realize.
To put things simply though, you cannot keep up the fattening food after surgery for morbid obesity even in small amounts and expect to lose all the weight and keep it off long term. The sooner you have that light bulb moment that those foods are in your past, the better off you will be in the long run.
Having said all that, your life isn't over. Just the embarrassing gluttony we all took part in. Every day was like eating a Thanksgiving dinner, that's over now.
None of us were the dainty eaters we told people we were and even believed ourselves. We like to tell ourselves that we’re all different but the fact is, if you’re reading this, I’m just like you and I speak Fatbrain just as well as you do. I see through your food questions because they were once my food questions. I ate thousands of calories a day to grow myself to the point where something as drastic and invasive as weight loss surgery is was a reasonable answer for me as well.
So please if you are a new post-op take note that surgery is a great tool you need to rely on while you learn how to change your life and work harder at finding new foods and activities to rely on. Get therapy and get to the root of your habits if you need to, work hard. You’re worth it. Use your first year or so do to more than preach about how you must be dong something right because you lost 75 pounds in 6 months while you ate Taco Bell and ice cream sundaes in moderation. Use your Honeymoon to become the person you always wanted to be, the person I know you can be.
We encourage the preparation and consumption of some pretty delicious food here that includes cocktails (for one year post ops) and desserts, so no one is suffering. We’ve got some of the most incredible recipes you’ve ever tasted right here, and not a person would every believe their low carb or no sugar added! They’ll change the way you view food after surgery, they really will.
However, one must at least acknowledge the issue that got us to the operating room table before we take steps towards change. Are you ready to do that?
~~ Embracing Bariatric Life with a Smile, Suzi Shaw!