Paying it forward...lessons along the way
Oct 04, 2015
My renewed interest in this site surprises me, but I think I've hit the pay it forward phase where I both want and need to share my personal experience being in the mainteance phase of wls. I was thinking the other day that someone needs to develop a psycho-social development stages model for post-ops. The wls has been a catalyst for so much change in me, and I see it in others at various stages when I go to my bariatric clinic's support groups.
There are many things that I just didn't KNOW (as in assimilated into my lived experience and truth, not just merely an intellectual knowing) pre-op that may have been helpful to know. My experience of weight loss surgery is much like all those years ago when I took a student loan. Lending conditions seemed favourable and I was grateful to sign on the dotted line, but I didn't really get that I would have to pay back all the money eventually...and with interest! Sometimes it feels like a fancy bait and switch sales tactic scheme. Lose weight quickly if you gamble on taking the risks of surgery, but then, bam, after the honeymoon period is over, you are back to adhering to all those old "dieting" tactics to actually keep the weight off. And, oh my, regain is brutal once you have experienced the euphoria of hitting your goal weight. Like being a millionarie and losing all your money is a different kind of poverty pain than having always been poor, any regain feels enormously scary for its potential to set you on the path back to obesity and become a "failure".
Despite researching online for a year, speaking in person with post-ops (albeit all of them were still newbies in the honeymoon phase) and attending all the required pre-op classes at my bariatric clinic, I didn't appreciate that the surgery is weight LOSS surgery and not exactly weight MAINTENANCE surgery. I actually have to live a lifestyle that will help me maintain my new weight, which means regular exercise, staying within a calorie limit (and to do this successfully, at almost 4 years, I am still weighing and measuring my meals and expect this to be lifelong..although, I must say that my ability to estimate a serving size with amazing accuracy is pretty darn good these days. Bam, I can show you a cup of almost anything and then double check it and I'm right on. I should list this as one of my superpowers) and following bariatric eating guidelines as prescribed by my bariatric clinic.
The bariatric eating guidelines are kind of a relief to me. When I was always trying to lose weight before, I felt lost in the sea of low fat, low carb, high protein, portion control haziness. There were too many competing "scientific studies" asserting the healthy way to eat. Now that I am a wls patient, there actually is one right way for me to eat for the rest of my life. Protein first at every meal and snack, portion control, veggies and some low glycemic fruit, and last complex carbs. I can ditch refined carbs for life. They have no nutritive value, mess with my blood sugar (a problem I didn't have pre-op, that I now do post-op...its called Reactive Hypoglycemia and it is very common in RNYers). Can I tell you that the world runs amok with refined carbs. Our society is a refined carb pusher. These things are on every street corner, at every social event, advertised on every TV station...heck, there are whole TV shows and entire TV stations devoted to pushing refined carbs front and centre into our living rooms.
I will be 4 years post-op in the upcoming January and I want to blog here more reguarly. I think there are a ton of important topics to cover...psychological changes, transfer addictions, following bariatric guidelines (vitamins and eating), regain, keeping your head in the game long term, eating disorders, spirituality, relationships. Its amazing how WLS touches all facets of a person's life.
My blogging steam has suddenly run out. The sweet kid (my 11 year old son) is calling my name. But I have more thoughts that I want to share. Bye for now. but I hope to be back soon.
#regain #afterthehoneymoon #lessonslearned #wlssuccess