The more things change, the hungrier I get! =]
Jun 10, 2013
I'm a little over 15 months out from my RNY surgery & I'm loving my size 7 body. Still working on letting go of food as my go-to numbing agent of choice, though.
My sleep schedule's upside-down. I'm up all night & I go to sleep around 4:30 AM. I'm not thrilled about this (can you tell I'm trying to be positive), but I know it's only temporary. Isn't everything?
One thing I'm dealing with since I'm up at night is being lonely, & that loneliness has been making me look for food. I don't think I'm exactly hungry; it's more that I'm looking for comfort or something pleasant to do, just like I did when I weighed 257.
My son is working now (he just finished his sophomore year of college) so he's using the second car. Note I didn't call it "my car." Read between the lines! I'm not employed outside the home right now (another reason I'm hungry, angry, lonely & tired) so I figure it's only fair to let my son use the car for his job. And I'm BORED. Oh, how bored I am! There, I said it. True confessions.
The only thing that's constant in life is change, so I figure this isn't going to last forever. But I do need to shore up my strength against feeling antsy at 3 AM & thinking graham crackers are the answer to my problems.
I'd love to hear how you all are handling your disengagement from food as a soothing agent. I wish you love & happiness!
What a wild ride!
Feb 10, 2013
I'm coming up on one year since my open RNY gastric bypass surgery (I had it on 2/28/2012). I had a followup with my primary-care physician today. I'm down from 257 to 143! 114 pounds lost in a little under one year. Every morning when I wake up, I say, Thank you, Lord, for this day. Quickly followed by, Thank you, Lord, that I'm SKINNY!
This is all new for me. I'd been heavy my whole life (since about the age of 6). I am SKINNY. I don't deny it. I'm proud of it. I am brave, I walked to the precipice & stepped off into the unknown. So none of this body dysmorphic disorder stuff for me. But I'm working at it, one day at a time.
If you're not familiar with the term body dysmorphic disorder or BDD, Wikipedia describes it as a disorder generally diagnosed in those who are excessively critical of their mirror image or body, although there may be no actual defect. Family, friends & others will typically disagree and may protest that there is no defect. In other words, someone like me who's had WLS (weight loss surgery) may look in the mirror & still see a fat person when, in fact, the person is now slim by anyone's standards.
I read about BDD years ago. I think I had it in reverse: I thought I was adorable! When I saw photos of myself, I cried inconsolably. I couldn't believe I looked like that (& yes, I have mirrors in my house). When I reacquainted myself with BDD just before I had my RNY, I realized I would have to work with myself, my doctors, & mental health professionals to get a grip on the reality that was to become the new me.
I do things like look - I mean really LOOK - at myself in the mirror. I never did that before I lost weight. Now my butt looks like two Sharpei puppies (& not in a good way) instead of two bowls of rising yeast bread dough, but dag it, I LOOK at the new me in the mirror. I do positive affirmations like, "Grrl... you look GREAT! You DID IT! You are adorable! I love you." Stop laughing! Seriously, I say this to my SKINNY, wrinkled, saggy, stretch-marked self. I look into my eyes when I say these things to myself. At first, I felt uncomfortable, & like I didn't really mean it. But, as we say in Overeater's Anonymous, fake it 'til you make it! A psychologist I once had said, "Behavior begets attitude." I believe it.
I also put my hands on my body. I realize I avoided this when I was heavy. I can remember being on an airplane in 2011 (before RNY). I had to sit with my arms crossed with my elbows resting on (one of) my spare tire(s) to avoid having my heavy upper arms infringe on my rowmates' seats. I had to try to stay this way on an 11-HOUR FLIGHT from Istanbul to Chicago! I didn't like feeling my own self in any way. How sad! This woman who raised 2 babies, loves 2 grandchildren, & opens my arms to anyone in need, & I couldn't allow myself to feel my own skin. My poor, dear, neglected self.
So now, I put my palms on my pelvic bones (yes! They're there! The last time I saw them was when I had a sonogram a month before my now-20-year-old son was born) & say, "Oh Lord, thank you Lord! I am SKINNY!" I wrap my hand (almost completely) around my upper forearm & see how my index finger & thumb almost touch. And I say, "I am SKINNY!" The first time I ever saw my knee bone I thought it was a bruise. True story! About a month after my surgery, I saw this bluish shadow on my knee & thought, "Heck! How'd I do THAT?" Then I realized: "HEY! That's my KNEE BONE!" I couldn't stop rolling the tips of my fingers on it. How cool! I can feel my bone! Like I said earlier, this is all new to me.
And I love it. I love ME!
Addiction to food and/or alcohol: No simple answer why
Jul 07, 2012
I think this accusation leaves out one important thing: We are human beings, made of flesh & bone. We are fallible. We were born to make mistakes.
It also leaves out the fact that as humans, we need other humans to have a heart & reach out a hand in support in order to recover from our addictions.
In Alcoholics Anonymous we say alcohol is cunning, baffling & powerful.
Personal responsibility comes into play in so many facets of the human condition. It's part of the baffling part of alcohol (& other addictions, including food) that people from all walks of life - from the mail room clerk to the CEO - become addicts.
God willing, I'll celebrate my 26th year of sobriety next month. My father was an alcoholic & died of cirrhosis of the liver at 49. Within the last 5 years, scientists have discovered a gene in the DNA string that predisposes one to addiction. I knew in my gut - even when I was a teenager - that I shouldn't drink. But life happened, & in my weakness - & with an enemy that is cunning, baffling & powerful - I became an alcoholic in my early 20s.
Somehow, as I was drowning, I looked up (so far up) & saw the surface of the water with the sun shining on it. In my stupor I knew I wanted to be THERE, but I didn't know how to save myself. But I knew I wanted to be a good (single) mother to my young child, & I knew I couldn't stop drinking without help.
So that's what led me to the 12 steps in 1986.
There is so much about the workings of the body in relation to the brain & one's psyche that come into play when one speaks about addiction. Why does one become an addict? It's not just one thing - one's upbringing, one's genetic predisposition - that can provide the answer to this question.
In my personal experience in practicing the 12th step in AA & Overeaters Anonymous, I know for a fact that compassion & patience with the addict is the only way to help someone get sober.
One day at a time.
The journey to WLS & back (or not?)
Jun 25, 2012
My friend on OH - who had WLS herself around the same time I did - lost her young daughter last week. Her daughter had WLS on 5/23/12 & never regained consciousness.
I'm sick about the loss of this vibrant, gorgeous young woman. This got me to thinking about my own thoughts pre-op.
If you're fearful of dying from WLS, I would call the surgeon's office & ask about his/her track record. I mean, you are entitled to have this information.
I started my journey on 9/1/2010 & it took over a year for me to be on the operating table. I didn't really worry too much about "checking out" after my surgery (dying). I was so unhappy at 257 pounds & had been overweight my whole life. I had diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, you name it. My marriage has been a long, tough, rocky road. I was ready for a 180-degree change in my life, no matter what the outcome.
I'm 51 & I figured, well, I've lived a life full of adventures (good & bad), I've traveled all over the USA, & to Europe... I don't want to die, but if I do, I've been blessed with beautiful (now-grown) children & 2 grandchildren. If God wants me, well, I'll just have to be an angel to my loved ones...
I know this probably sounds silly or crazy. But I want to be honest with you. And looking back, I'm glad I had my RNY. It hasn't been easy, but I'd lost & gained weight so many times in my life I knew I couldn't do it by diet & exercise alone anymore.
I'm coming up on 4 months since my surgery. I can walk 4+ miles without being really tired. This is a huge feat for me! I had trouble with the stairs in my home pre-op. I wore a size 20 (tight) before surgery; now I wear a 14 comfortably. I always wanted to have my hair super-short & not think my head looked like the knot on a balloon. I got my hair cut last week just the way I've always wanted it to be! I'm not dying in the heat & humidity of DC (I have no AC in my car) because I'm not carrying around an extra 63 pounds to cool off anymore. I can pull my knees up when I'm laying down & not feel like I'm suffocating because of all the fat rippling up to my throat. I can cut my own toenails. I can shave my legs (& other areas of my bod lol) without being exhausted afterwards. I can actually see what I'm shaving!
This has been a hugely sobering experience for me. I'd never had major surgery before in my life. The anesthesia was unbelievably strong, paralyzing, brain-scrambling. I feel like I was "on the brink..." & that I came back to the living. My scar is not awful. Actually, I love it. I put scar gel on it & I say, "I love you! You're so beautiful! Thank you for my new life!" I have a much more tender & loving feeling about my body than I did before because I know what it can get through. I am so strong!
Much love, GG
One-derland! (yeah I said it)
Jun 19, 2012
Miracles DO happen. To God goes the glory.
I have a muffin top! YIPPEE!
Jun 17, 2012
You can use this, but make sure you credit me!
Overeaters Anonymous & the TOOLS of recovery!
Jun 14, 2012
OA has a pamphlet: The TOOLS of Recovery. The tools are
A Plan of Eating
I see my WLS as one of the tools of my recovery from compulsive overeating.
I didn't enter my first meeting with a willingness to share the fact that I'd had RNY a month previous. I told one other member (privately) that I'd had WLS.
We talk a lot on OH about "head hunger." Whatever you want to call it, I have struggled with the removal of food as my numbing drug of choice from my life since my RNY 2/28/12. I researched & read everything I could about RNY for years before I had my surgery, but nothing prepared me for the yanking of my "safety net" or "magic carpet" - food food food - out from under me overnight.
I see a counselor (social worker) every Wednesday. I go to AT LEAST one OA meeting a week (so far this week, 3). I honestly don't know where I'd be today if I hadn't walked into that first meeting on 4/2/12.
The thing about 12-step meetings is that they're run & attended by HUMANS. lol! We have our shortcomings. But we're all in this journey together.
You'll find that the meetings offer you a feeling of peace & serenity when you walk into the room (before anyone says a word). Remember, we are all "sick," so don't paint the whole program as unworthy if one person says something without thinking it through.
I look at it this way: I am there at the Overeaters Anonymous meetings to help myself one day at a time, but ALSO to help OTHERS recover from compulsive overeating. I'm on the leading edge at my local OA meetings. As WLS becomes more common, OA groups will open their doors & minds up to helping post-ops utilize this miraculous tool to overcome compulsive eating, just like we use the other tools of recovery.
I'm a PIONEER!
As we say in OA: "Keep coming back! It works if you WORK IT!"
"Head hunger:" Cravings, but only a distant memory...
Jun 09, 2012
Just the smell of food made me feel like I was going to throw up (& I had absolutely nothing on my stomach, not even water). I was in the hospital almost 4 days (they kept me an extra day because I was in pain & I couldn't keep the meds down). The 4th day, just before I left, they brought me in pureed food (turkey, peas). I ate it. I was a tiny bit hungry. I didn't feel like throwing anything at the cafeteria person.
When I got home, I was exceedingly sensitive to smells & even just the suggestion of certain things (chocolate, anything with artificial sweetener in it) made me have to sit completely still until the wave of nausea passed. As I was coming up the stairs to my bedroom (just home from the hospital) I could smell my body wash (raspberry something) in my bathroom like my whole house was soaking in it. I ripped that bottle of stuff outta my shower stall & buried it in the back of my husband's bathroom's undersink cabinet like it was an evil voodoo doll.
Okay so that was ONE side of it.
The night I was home from the hospital, my son (college) got home & all his homies came over the house. My son came upstairs to say hi to me. I said, "Whatcha been doing?" He said, "We just got back from RED ROBIN. It was so great! OH, SORRY!" I about cried! RED ROBIN?! How did I forget to hit that place before my surgery? It was the end of the WORLD! RED ROBIN!
So yes, head hunger: I now knew what it was.
A bit over 3 months out, I still have head hunger. But It's kind of abstract, like the memory of an old boyfriend from when I was a teenager...
Carbs: They're made for you to crave
Jun 05, 2012
The way processed carbs are manufactured nowadays, much of what's in there is not digestible by the body. (Any body.) The flour is treated chemically to make it fluffier so the companies can use less but make the same amount of product. This "flour" is indigestible by the human gastrointestinal tract. Also, high-fructose corn syrup is NOT, as the HFCS ad campaign says, "just sugar." Again, it's a non-food that has been processed so as to make it killer on the human body.
Panera Bread was in the forefront of using these non-food products to make their baked goods (pastries, cakes, danish). Did you ever feel unwell after eating there? Did you have tummy troubles for a day or two afterwards?
Another place that uses these chemically altered non-foods is Starbucks. Many restaurants (franchises, chains) are starting to use them exclusively because the companies save so much money. Their usage has "bled" over into supermarket products.
What I'm trying to say is, don't knock yourself; don't be so tough on yourself. These highly-processed non-foods are highly addictive to the palate & pleasure center of one's brain. When you get these out of your system, you don't crave them nearly as much.
For all of us - WLS post-ops or not - eating food as close to its natural state is what we should strive for.
Hair-raising (actually, falling)!
May 27, 2012
I have short hair, but I have scads of actual hairs. My poor hairdresser (who is also my dear friend & has done my hair since I was 29, AND had laparoscopic RNY 5 years ago) says it every time I go to get my hair done: "You have so. Much. HAIR!" My hair has always been quite thick. It's relatively straight (tiny bit of natural wave).
Optimally, I should be getting about 80-100g of protein a day. I'm not coming anywhere near this number.
I have had trouble getting in enough protein since my open RNY 2/28/12. Meat (any kind: beef, poultry) makes me rather queasy. Not sick, but kind of blecch on my tummy. So of course I eat about a slice of turkey lunchmeat & I am done.
Cheese is too rich for my tummy, too. I do have it once in awhile, but I don't like how any kind of dairy makes my tummy feel (queasy). I wasn't sensitive to dairy pre-op, but I sure am now.
I do drink protein shakes. I can have one pretty much only every other day, though. I have to push myself to drink them. They fill me up so much, so quickly. I have a Muscle Milk (lactose-free), either vanilla or chocolate (big shock!), mixed with 2 scoops of Syntrax Nectar unflavored protein powder, & a half-cup of rice milk. I add a few ice cubes & shake it up. I can drink almost all of it (except for about an inch left in the shaker bottle sometimes). That's 45 grams of protein. That's the most I get in one meal, & like I said, I only have one of those every other day or so.
Sometimes I do drink a Muscle Milk or Extreme Protein Smoothie (from bariatricchoice.com) in a sitting. The Extreme Protein Smoothies are the best protein drink I've ever had. I've tried quite a few, but not all of them out there.
So, here I am. I noticed many strands of hair on my shoulders, in my car, on my sink, in the shower, tangled in my eyelashes, etc. starting about a week or so ago. I'm getting my vitamins in every day (I did run out of calcium & I'm waiting for my next shipment this week). I had my complete post-op bloodwork drawn last Wednesday & haven't gotten the results back yet.
I'm not too terribly upset about it; I've had so many issues with my marriage since my RNY, I haven't been able to concentrate on much else.
Keep me in your prayers, darlings!