I recently read a study outlining the habits of thousands of regular non bariatric people who have lost significant weight and kept it off. There were a few interesting patterns that jumped out for me.
People who maintain their weight remain consistent with their eating patterns. They make similar choices whether or not they are on a vacation, at a party, enjoying a holiday, celebrating a special occasion, or eating in a restaurant.
This is where I missed the boat as I used to look at all those events as reasons to look forward to eating crazy amounts of high-calorie food. Why do some of us equate a special occasion with horrible food choices and over the top indulgence? We look at Chocolate Cake, deep-fried Blooming Onion, Fettuccini in a thick cream cheese sauce, Venti Mocha Caramel Macchiato with Whipped Cream, a Big Mac Large Fries and a Strawberry Shake, as 'The Good Stuff'. I have eaten plates of food in Las Vegas that would have shocked my naturally slim friends.
On the flip side, we view Broccoli, Seared Ahi Tuna Salad, a dish of fresh Strawberries, the 5 ounce filet mignon, a plain Cappuccino, unsweetened Green Tea, sliced Turkey Breast, or a small restaurant portion as 'The Punishment'. Many of these foods were the normal choices of my naturally slim friends.
Many new post ops ask WHEN they can return to drinking soda, eating Chinese Food, Popcorn - and many never stop eating mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and chocolate bars. They use the fact that they now eat less of them as justification - this is the extent of their forced change. They do not acknowledge that in order to keep the weight off that they will need to make different food choices and do so forever. They don't recognize that their dietary patterns are the problem - in addition to portion size. They think that weight loss surgery will take care of the volume and they will be golden.
It is because it is hard for us to understand that we ate differently than others. We had our face buried in our dripping cheeseburger and fries, and didn't notice that across the table our friend was eating a grilled salmon salad with dressing on the side. We think it is unfair that our metabolism is not working the same as that of others. Our metabolism was not the problem.
Asking WHEN you can return to the foods that created your need for weight loss surgery is a huge red flag that you need a mental or emotional intervention to go along with the surgical.
And I truly get it. When I was a little girl, I remember my brother being allowed to have a Devil Dog after school, where I was offered An Apple. Early on, I equated the Devil Dog with being special with An Apple being not so desirable.
Even when I lost a lot of weight on a diet - along would come a vacation or holiday and I would be off the boat and treading water in a pool of margaritas and dessert. The worst part is that once I found myself drowning I would find myself unable to get back on track and it would slowly spiral into gaining back every pound and then some. Naturally slim people have different pools from which they choose their food.
As an almost 20-year RNY post-op, I have new parameters for what I consider Good in terms of food. I love my own fresh healthy creations - Tuscan Bean Soup, Red Lentils in Coconut Milk, Shrimp Cocktail, Grilled Chicken with Mango Salsa, an Asian seared tuna salad - all truly delicious. My old choices were Fried, covered in Mayonnaise, washed down with Coke, and in vast portions.
I now prefer clean foods that offer simple flavors. I am no longer On A Diet - this is my natural Way of Life. Obviously, there are exceptions, and all of us have a 'cheat' on occasion, but now I can view it in terms of the Big Picture and my indulgence does not turn into a binge or habit. I just get right back on track and make up for it.
I used to LIVE in the land of indulgence; I now only visit there upon rare occasion. That is the turning point!