Search Results for “self medicate”

Discussing scales and regain


This was a post on ObesityHelp.com that I answered and I’d love to share my response because I think it helps to share real stuff and real answers. I hope you’ll see something you can relate to.

Here’s the original post:
For those of you who had RNY, are past your “honeymoon” stage, and are now sailing smoothly, not struggling or falling back into your obese lifestyle, what personality shift did you make that helped you become a long term success. I don’t mean the golden standards like keep a food diary, drink all your water (sip, sip, sip), or get regular exercise, not the habits you changed. I mean the head stuff, the light bulb moment, the trigger that made you do turn around and say I’m not doing this anymore and I’m not looking back.
This is what I shared:
I will be 9 years out next week. I don’t think I would call it smooth sailing but more a comparison to the “regular” people you know that are constantly fighting that 5-10 pounds. The thing that works for me is changing my relationship with food. It is fuel and no longer “sex in a plate”. I have discovered so many wonderful other things in life that I can take part in now that I couldn’t before. I am hyper aware that if I eat things that are bad for me that I will only experience a momentary time of pleasure followed by self loathing and then a need to eat again to self medicate the pain away for beating myself up. I actually don’t keep a food diary. My food diary is the scales. Every morning I check to see where I am and I do damage control when I go over the magic number and fix it while it’s small. It is a black and white thing….no “I’ll wait until tomorrow”. I fix it then and when I get back under that number I just eat carefully but I don’t journal or count calories. Let me state that this is my way. I also don’t eat more than 8 grams of sugar and I totally believe that the way to stop cravings is to stop eating the things you don’t want to crave. I spent years trying to stop drinking Coke and couldn’t but after surgery I had to. I don’t even remember what it tastes like. If you stop doing certain foods you will forget the cravings. I am not suggesting that you go in a bakery and press your face in freshly baked bread that you won’t get some euphoric recall so I don’t do that. There’s a great saying “If you hang around a barbershop, eventually you’ll get a hair cut”. Keep yourself away from things and triggers that will tempt you.The other way I keep it fresh in my mind is that every morning I seriously concentrate on my before picture that was taken the night before surgery. I remind myself just how miserable I was and how much I don’t want to go back under any circumstances. I don’t ever want to take for granted the little things that I wanted so badly. As long as I am vigilant about doing that damage control while the problem is small, I can handle what comes my way.

This picture was taken the night before surgery. I was the happiest 260 pound woman on earth because I had hope for the first time in 30 years.

I would rather be doing these things.

She then responded that she liked the concept of doing damage control early on and I continued with this:

That’s one of the reasons I very carefully stated “this is my way”. I was told once that someone considered getting on the scale every day made us a prisoner to our scale. I only do it in the morning and once a day. I record it on my daily calendar on my iPhone. I visualize what I expect to see and I’m very nearly right every day. I then forget the scale and my weight until the next morning. I don’t look at it as the scale ruling my world. I use it as a measurement to keep me in line. I could gain 5 plus pounds in a week. 5 pounds is more difficult to fix than 2 or 3. I don’t freak out, I just fix it. If I don’t weigh I would be more likely to worry about what it is. Knowledge is power. Worrying about what “might be” is more damaging for me. Dealing face on with “what is” is far easier for me and it makes me accountable.

I was listening to a bariatric surgeon speak a few years ago and he was talking about post-ops needing to keep food journals and emotional journals (write down what they were feeling before they ate the wrong things) and many other things. Later on he was asked how he stayed thin and he said he got on the scales every morning and adjusted his activities for the day when he went over his weight he wanted to be. I immediately questioned why we couldn’t be the same…just be a normal person that maintains their weight. For me the scales are my friend and knowing where we are is called feedback. How do you solve a problem if you don’t know all the information involved?

If you are a person that doesn’t care about a 20 pound difference you will not need to check that often. Sometimes men are that way. Many women care very deeply about 20 pounds. If you are the type that is deeply affected by 10 or 20 pounds, it is very important to check your progress and do the damage control or else it will eat you alive and it seeps into every area of your life. I call that “regain strain” or “looking at everything through regain glasses”. I don’t want to write a novel here but you have to find what works for you. I just know that the majority of successful post-ops have some things in common and one of them is doing damage control on the small regain. Please let me know if I can help any further OK? hugs, Y

 

Ms. Fatty.com interviewed me!

Special thanks to Ms. Fatty for interviewing me!
MsFatty.com Home / Around The Interwebs / Fireside Chat with The Bariatric Girl
Fireside Chat with The Bariatric Girl
Remember, if you are severely obese, bariatric surgery remains a legitimate option for you in your weight loss journey.
I’ve posted here about my online pal, The Bariatric Girl. Today I’m going to post the little fireside chat we had about weight loss surgery recently. Enjoy!
1. Yvonne, you have been fighting obesity your entire life; tell us something about the transformation of your mind that happened during the transformation of your body?My mind lagged well behind my body and that still hasn’t gone away entirely. Old habits die hard and so did the memories of my body. The strange one was when I was in the grocery store and felt like people walking by were literally on top of me. I was so used to people going around me and since I don’t require as much room, they walk closer and it was almost claustrophobic at first but I’ve adjusted.

2. One thing that we’ve discussed via email is how our “no cheat rule” has contributed to success. A lot of people think that having the bariatric surgery is the “easy way out” in a sense, because you’ll never have to worry about wanting to cheat ; ie, no self control needed after you get the surgery, it just “happens.” Further reading into this topic though, and you will find that some people that have had the surgery actually cheat and get fat again. I’m sure having a tiny pouch that you can’t fit a lot of food into helps tremendously, but if some people are still getting fat, then it seems to me that yes, a transformation of mind in also necessary. Talk to us a little bit about why you feel a no cheat rule works for you and why some people gain back all that weight even after surgery.
ABSOLUTELY. We did not get brain surgery. We just got a smaller stomach but if we don’t change what we were doing before, you can go back to obesity or switch to something new to abuse or another method to self medicate. Now you’re pretty safe the first year because your metabolism is still being tricked so you can eat pretty much what you want and still lose weight. We call that the honeymoon period. Approximately after a year that’s over with so it’s just like being put magically into this thinner body but your metabolism has smartened up. You must start the lifestyle change immediately after surgery because if you wait until the honeymoon period is over, it is much MUCH more difficult because you’re days of losing no matter what are pretty much done. For me that was a good trade. Take me back to normal and I promise to eat right and get some exercise….like getting a do over. If you start right after surgery, you’ve had a year of forming good habits.
With certain kinds of weight loss surgery it is designed to make you ill if you eat certain things like too much sugar. The truth is you will lose your cravings if you stop eating something completely. The no cheat rule makes it black and white. I look at sugar as poison so it’s very simple. I tried to stop drinking Coke for years and the funny thing is…now I don’t even remember what a Coke tastes like. The reason some people gain weight back is because they didn’t deal with the issues in their head that causes them to use food to self medicate. There’s another group of people that gain back 20-40 pounds and end up being more miserable than when they weighed 300 pounds. You must fight to keep that goal weight when you reach it or a whole bunch of head games start telling you that you’ve failed again. It may seem impossible to most that a woman that has lost over 100 pounds can feel like a failure because she’s gained back 20 pounds but it happens every day. We must learn what really makes us happy in life and what we want will follow. FOLLOW YOUR BLISS! Don’t expect the bad or that’s what you’ll get.
 

 

 
3. Let’s talk about shakes. I know that people that have had bariatric surgery often live on these things for the first few months. I haven’t had the surgery, but I enjoy the unrefined, low sugar shakes I prepare myself as meal replacements. Have any good suggestions or recipes for the kind of highly nutritious shakes bariatric people use?
I actually still drink a shake every morning. It’s super important to put something in your body for breakfast so you won’t throw your body into starvation mode. When you do eat, the body hangs on to those calories like crazy because after sleeping for 8 hours and then waiting hours to eat after waking makes your body think it’s starving. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card. I actually drink MetRX extreme chocolate. I put a lot of ice in it and blend it so it comes out like a chocolate shake…at least as much as I can remember a chocolate shake. There is a great blog called “the world according to Eggface” that has some of the best recipes for weight loss people. Great recipes and a great blog!
4. Talk to us about exercise. I hate exercise. I have a rebounder and that’s the only thing I do; it is excellent. Do you love/hate exercise? What exercise has been the most entertaining for you? What is the most useful for health?
I always hated exercise but I am asked often if I “work out”. I found yoga. Many people automatically assume that yoga is only for people that can bend like a pretzel. For me yoga is like slow dancing by yourself but at the same time you are increasing your range of motion and burning calories. It is said that ten minutes of yoga is as good as an hour on the treadmill. There are great videos online for beginner yoga and there’s a great DVD called “Heavyweight Yoga” that you can get at www.heartfeltyoga.com. I think it’s super important that you find something you like and something that is easy to do. I can do yoga anywhere, anytime. If you absolutely cannot find an exercise you like, then dance! Walk your dog. It has been proven that exercise can be a huge benefit to people that are depressed. Whatever you do, it’s just really important not to “hate” it. If you believe it’s a drag, it will be!

5. What is a typical day of meals and drinks for you?
Well you might be surprised. I have completely changed the way I feel about food. I look at it as fuel. For me I had to not look at food as a sexual experience anymore. If every time we went to fill up with gas there was an ocean breeze (in Texas), dancing naked men (or women), hot music etc…. well you’d be wanting to go get gas again sooner than necessary. I eat as boring as possible because it works for me. I look forward to that shake in the morning and the rest of the day is mostly protein. I try to eat vegetables and fruit in the right amounts. The more water you can drink the better. I actually hate water so I have to put something in it to make it possible for me to drink. There are so many things on the market that you’ll find one you like if you keep looking. I know a lot of people don’t want to hear this answer about boring food but too much food and the wrong food is the substance that makes me an unhappy person. I will not go back to the obese person I was and food can no longer be the end all/be all for me. It is fuel and I cannot afford for it to be the thing I look to for self medication of my anxiety in life. Food is fuel now…no longer a drug.
 

 

 
6. Do you have a favorite “appetite busting” food or drink?
I love these meat sticks called “Ostrim”. You can put them in your car or purse or pocket and it doesn’t matter what temperature they are. When you are out somewhere and you allowed yourself to get so hungry that you’ll eat anything you will certainly mess up. Ostrim meat sticks keep me from going through that drive through when I shouldn’t. They come in 4 flavors and taste great. Being prepared for what you’ll eat each day will keep you out of a lot of trouble in the long run.

7. I gotta ask… when you were fat, did you have really wide feet and a hard time finding shoes to wear? If so, after you lost the weight, did your feet return to a normal width? This is a crisis issue with some fatties I know, including myself. When I got fat I could no longer wear pretty shoes.
I was asked this just the other day. I lost a shoe size but some have reported as much as a size and a half. And yes you can wear those pretty shoes again. I know when I was obese, it was so painful and I really didn’t feel like putting those pretty shoes on my big body. I’ve made up for a lot of lost time now.

8. If someone is considering bariatric surgery, give us a spiel on your best advice for them.
My best advice would be to go online and research people that have succeeded and ask them how. Ask them what they did that make the difference between success and failure. You can find a ton of things for and against anything you research. Some people have lost loved ones due to surgery and they are just as upset as you would expect them to be. You will find blogs telling you that you are an idiot to consider it. For various reasons you will find blogs that say it’s the easy way out.
I also know people who have lost their lives because they were obese…one was a friend of mine. If you have tried and I mean sincerely tried and failed tons of diets, and if you are ready to sincerely put the effort into the lifestyle change, you could be a candidate. Even though it is difficult to believe, you also cannot buy into the belief that when you lose all the weight that your life will be perfect. You must be willing to educate yourself on what’s going on in your head and how you got obese in the first place. Choosing to have weight loss surgery is an extremely personal decision that no one should ever push on someone else. All I can do is live my life as an example and show others what a successful weight loss surgery journey looks like. You are the person that lives in your body so it’s your decision. Just like anything you do in your life that is a major undertaking, talk to those that have been in the trenches. My blog in particular will tell you a lot about what to expect.


9. In your layman’s opinion, what do you think is the best surgery, that is the safest and with the best outcomes?
The best surgery is the one you decide to have. It is important to go to a surgeon that offers all of them. Some want lapband because you can reverse it. Some want something else because they don’t want a foreign body inside them and have to go back for fills. Some don’t want their guts rearranged. That’s why it is so important to talk to your bariatric doctor because he or she is trained to ask those questions so that you can pick what is best for you.
I have known people that have succeeded and failed with every kind of surgery and even though you will see a lot of fighting online about which surgery is the best, that’s between you and your doctor and whether your insurance will cover it or not. Some people do not have insurance and self pay. The thing that is important is believing in the one you pick. Treat it as the miracle it is and show your surgery some respect. If you go in expecting failure, that’s what you’ll get. Don’t let naysayers rent space in your head. There’s always someone that will have something nasty or critical to say. Surround yourself with successful, happy people and you’ll find it easier to be that way.

10. What do you look for in a doctor?
Experience and the way you feel when you talk to him/her. Get feedback from his other patients. I am a member of Obesity Help.com and each member has their doctor’s name under their user name. The doctor’s page has feedback from his patients. Check out how extensive the aftercare program is BUT it is far more important to go to a good doc first. A doc with good marketing could make his program look like a million dollars but that doesn’t tell you how good he is. The proof is talking to other patients and asking a lot of questions.

 

You’ve lost the weight, why aren’t you happy?

Cabo San Lucas Mexico

I look at the person I photographed in Cabo San Lucas. Is the lady happy standing out there on the beach? Maybe…or maybe not. Some might question “How could she not be happy standing on the beach and looking at that beautiful sunrise?” Well the truth is that some people would be standing out there complaining about the sand in between their shoes.

Some might also question “How could you not be happy after losing 100, 200, 300 or more pounds?” For people that haven’t lived that situation they couldn’t possibly understand why some of us aren’t.

I have stared into the anxious faces of pre-surgery women that long for the simple things like being able to tie their shoes, play with their children, fit in an airplane seat without an extender, and many of the things others take for granted.
We buy into that dream.  You know the one….where our life becomes this perfect pink cloud life of thinness….sheer normalcy.  No more struggles or pain, everything is rainbows and fairy dust because we lost the weight.
Lately there have been an overwhelming number of posts from unhappy post-ops. If you relate to this situation have you asked yourself why? So many post-ops set themselves up for failure because they are SURE that losing the weight will make them instantly happy. I’ve talked to many pre-ops as they nod their heads and say “I understand, all I want is to do normal things.” How can we blame them for wanting more? The first year is made of all these incredible highs from losing weight like we’ve never lost before! Friends and relatives are telling us how GREAT we look. We get so excited that we can’t help but want more! The honeymoon period ends and unless we are prepared, we may wonder what on earth will we do now to replace those “bouncing off the wall highs” we have lived for a year.

We needed to address why we self-medicated with food before we got to this phase but we certainly have to NOW. Why do you think that only having a thin body would make you happy? Think about a friend who has been thin all their lives. I’m pretty sure they don’t jump out of bed in the morning screaming “OH WOW, I’M SO HAPPY BECAUSE I’M THIN!” They are just like everyone else trying to live their life the best they can with the best attitude they can.

HAVE YOU REALLY FORGOTTEN WHERE YOU CAME FROM?

Perhaps one of the most useful rituals I do each morning is a walking meditation with my dog. “I am truly grateful for my thin healthy body” (that’s the first one followed by many more) While I’m saying that I see myself the night before surgery. I remember exactly where I was and I remember to be grateful for where I am today. Is post-op life hard? It is if you believe it is. Wasn’t it hard to live in your pre-surgery body? Some of us just can’t help ourselves from looking over that fence thinking the grass is greener. I have been discussing this lately but if you really REALLY think about it why do you believe that what you want is always in a place you cannot have? What is the point in that? I will say this again….you have to decide the grass is green enough for right now and when you do, you totally forget to want to climb that fence because even if you do, there’s just another fence waiting on the other side. Do you want to enjoy where you are or spend your life climbing fences?

I have found that when I start to see the green grass all around me that the fences fall down because they don’t matter anymore. After spending 30 years of wanting to be “not obese”, I am done with concentrating on what I don’t have and ready to enjoy what I have! The magic that happens is that you open yourself to the new stuff that can come into your life because your energy isn’t tied up on useless endeavors.

Open your life to new experience. Quit spending your time concentrating on what you don’t have and remember how far you’ve come. I promise it will make a difference!

 

Love and Light,

Yvonne

 
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