Weight Loss Surgery - It Isn't Always About the Food

View Full Version : It Isn't Always About the Food

08-20-2002, 05:25 PM
When I first had my WLS on 2-19-2001... a laproscopic Roux En Y, I was totally committed to using it as a tool to reach my goal. The first 5 months post op were great except that I threw up everyday for the first 3 months. By 5 months I was down to 200 pounds, I started at 295, but then I began to sabotage myself by eating... not because I was craving it or hungry for it. There was something in me that seemed to drive me to the food.

It didn't even have to be good tasting food...dry saltines and dry oatmeal were big with me. My weight started going up...205... 207 and finally to 212. I tried everything I could but something keep making me eat. I had no urge to eat my favorites like chocolate or chips, I never kept them in the house anymore. Unfortunately, I do not suffer from the dumping syndrome at all, I could eat a bag of sugar and not have any problem. In my panic over what was happening I started doing something that I never planned on. Occasionally I would eat a certain food and I noticed that these certain foods would make me sick enough to cause nausea and begin the vomitting of mucus ( this is what happens to WLS people when their stomachs become irritated by a certain food or from eating to quickly). I also began to notice that once this happened I would be too sick to eat for most of the day because it would just cause me to get sicker. Soon I was doing this more often and using it as a way to keep myself from eating. I did not have to eat alot of these foods to get sick ... they are just foods that I have not been able to tolerate since surgery such as red meat, pasta and eggs.

I began to realize that food wasn't my problem, it probably never was. My problem was me, or at least a part of me. She is a part that I now call Fat Debbie. Fat Debbie wants to be fat. She warns me that if I lose weight and I can no longer obsess about losing weight then I will have to deal with the issues in life that are really causing me the unhappiness that I feel. She tells me that it is much safer being fat and blaming being fat for all my unhappiness and pain. I am not crazy, I have just separated her from me so that I could deal with her because she was not being easily quieted.

In the end of May 2002 I decided to start walking... I went about 2.5 miles. I didn't really concentrate on food. I actually became obsessed with walks, sometimes walking up to 10 miles a day in 2.5 mile sessions. Soon I realized that it wasn't helping me much with weight loss because I was still eating like crazy. I hadn't found Fat Debbie yet. During the middle of July I started my walks at 4:45 in the morning and I began to increase them in length and speed but the biggest thing is that I began to think and that is when I realized that I was the one to blame... not food or lack of mativation. This will sound crazy but it's like I almost began to hear Fat Debbie... telling me she was tired or that this was all a waste of time. Soon I began to realize that I was scared of what not having weight to obsess about would mean. I'd have to think about how much my marriage had changed and where I was going with my life as a woman... fear that my marriage was failing my needs, fear of getting a career... a job. It is so much easier when your main worry is what the number will read on a scale... so much easier to say "my marriage isn't as happy as it could be because I am fat" or "I don't deserve a good job and a happy marriage because I am fat". I could hear those words in my head... they were my reality, the way I was living my life.

Then as I began to walk daily...never skipping a day, I found some sort of inner strength during this quiet hour. I began to move faster and Fat Debbie would complain but I'd quiet her and show her that we could do it. I began drinking at least 80 ounces of water (actually sugarfree Kool Aid) and watching what I ate. Drinking that much fluid really helps, if I feel that I'm heading for the food I drink a glass of Kool Aid(16 ounces) and I feel full. I stick to a diet of 1100 to 1300 calories a day. There were times when I thought I was going to go crazy battling with myself but each day I get stronger. Is Fat Debbie still here? Of course she is, I love Fat Debbie but now I a try to show her that is okay to not be fat. I'm showing her and myself (new & improved Debbie?) that the number on the scale is important to me but that those numbers are not to blame for my life. I have to plan to eat now because most days I don't give food a second thought... not even a first.

I didn't mean for this to get so long but I just want people to know that it isn't always the food that makes you fat and if that is the case having WLS won't really help as it should. This has been the most emotional and mentally trying time that I have ever had. The best thing is that I have found myself again and I am making choices on the important things and I'll let the numbers on the scale take care of themselves.

One last thing, since mid-June I have dropped 23 pounds and I now walk 5 miles every morning at 4.5 miles per hour. My first goal is walk a 12 minute mile(5 MPH) and get my weight to 170. I say 160 is my final goal weight but I'd be happy at 170... I'm 5' 10" so that would be a nice healthy weight.


08-20-2002, 09:43 PM
i've been saying for a long time that this surgery is NOT for people who haven't done the work to get rid of their food demons. it's a TOOL, and while we've all heard that time and time again, we don't always realize what that actually MEANS.

for crying out loud, some people don't even need a psych evaluation to have the surgery!!

everyone, fat, skinny, normal, is afraid of something. everyone has defense mechanisms, coping mechanisms, coping skills and so on. but as you've so eloquently said, for some of us, it's our fat!!!

i'm so very grateful to be getting my life back. i still have a little under 100 pounds to go, but i've lost a total of 230+ [not sure of the exact number]. but i also know that there will be a time when the fear kicks in. that point when i realize that people are attracted to me because of the way i look, and not for the person i am inside.

and that's a tough battle for me.

so, many congrats for doing all this head work, and walking so far!!!! all totaled up, have you walked across the US yet?

08-21-2002, 12:51 PM
Jiffypop, first of all let me congratulate you on how far you have come!!

I was not required a psych evaluation before surgery but I don't think that I would have picked up on my problem. I am glad that I seem to be working my way through my mottled mind but it really threw me for a loop. There were times when I cried like a baby because I thought I was going nuts, there really seemed to be a voice that seemed separate from me.

I only have kept track of my walking for the last month or so and the walking 5 miles a day started about 2 weeks ago. I originally started back in May doing only 2.5 miles and that took me nearly an hour to do. Then I increased it block by block and worked on speed to get my heart rate up. When I finally reached the 5 miles I decided that was enough distance for a daily routine but I really want to get my speed up. If you had told me 2 months ago that I would be walking 5 miles at a speed of 4.5 MPH I would have laughed my butt off(I wish that was possible). Since July 22 I have walked 135 miles... I don't know where that would put me in the country but I am sure it is still in Pennsylvania.

Thanks for your post and encouragement. You keep up the great work too because you seem to have it together. When you get to the point where the fear sets in I believe that you will do pretty well.


08-21-2002, 01:21 PM
Debbie, I really admire you for having the courage to share that with us. I think I've always felt a little like that too. One thing I remember so well before Alvin & I were married is that everyone told me how I would really have to watch my weight since Alvin was overweight. So here it is 36 years later and we are both morbidly obese. I'm afraid that I would have to admit that at times I've sabatoged his attempts at weight loss because that would mean I'd have to try to loose weight too.

Now that he's had the surgery and I know how serious this is to him, I have made a committment to work on myself. Everyone keeps asking me if I am going to have the surgery too. The answer is "I don't know." Right now I want to try everything in my power to loose it on my own.

Alvin was doing so well, I think part of my problem was it was too easy for him. He also didn't have dumping syndrome, He very rarely threw up, He had now pain. The weight was litteraly falling off him. Now that he has had this setback, it has made me realize that things were not that easy for him. They were easy for me. (It was like my 4y/o grandson said after they had given Alvin a shot in the hospital"that didn't hurt a bit") I've got to find a way to face my demons, and at the same time be supportive of Alvin. Right now I'm not doing a good job of either one, but I'm working on it.

Thanks again for sharing with us.

08-21-2002, 02:25 PM
Thanks Debbie for opening up to us about that, I think I see a little of myself in what you say. I too sometimes get a flash of what it will be like to be normal sized (something I have never been in my adult life) and while I think I want to be normal sized more than anything, it also scares me. I have had this fat to hide behind for so long and when it's gone I will be open to the world. Just a bit of a scary thought.

Another Debbie

08-21-2002, 10:01 PM
barb... why do you say that you're not doing a good job of supporting old alvin??? from where i sit, you're doing a GREAT job. why the doubt?

and you've been doing so well with your own weight loss, even through the knee surgery and alvin's unfortunate incarceration. you two are MARRIED, not twins! what's right for one of you may not be right for the other.

and remember, alvin is ultimately responsible for what he puts in his mouth. i've never seen you say that you fill up a spoon and shove it in his mouth!!

and debbiedreamsmall, don't let this attitude here fool you!!! i'm trying to cope with stress and fear and everything else, too. and walking a mile and a half a day [not nearly in your league yet!!!] with a 70-pound rottweiler trying to drag me along [great upper body workout!!!]

i'm just grateful for all the support i've gotten from the low carb ladies, from friends, from family, from the docs and nurses. i was nearly dead a year ago. and now i'm walking!

and finally getting my life back. it's been a long haul. and the best part, if i follow the rules, the weight will stay off. i can LIVE this way, in more ways than one!!