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Can I Really Do This?



So my seminar is this Saturday and I went ahead and filled out my patient profile packet yesterday. It was pretty long and asked me why I thought I was unsuccessful in the past and why I think I'll be successful this time. Not really hard questions but they got me thinking.


Why was I unsuccessful in the past? My friends and I (all professional dieters) have a saying about weight loss -- when I'm on I'm on and when I'm not I'm not. Maybe we aren't all that creative but we're basically saying that when I'm motivated, I can pass anything up and am a model of control. But when that motivation fades or I'm not "feeling it", I pass nothing up. In fact, I grab extra for later and just in case. I've been like this since I first started dieting in my teens. I lose interest/motivation, get tired of not having what I want, decide "I've got this" when I really never do have it. The sad thing is I can rarely get that motivation back for that particular diet once I've fallen off. I think my body treats diets like a virus and develops antibodies against it. Underneath all that, of course, is my food addiction. Yep, I'm an addict. And like all good addicts, I can quit for a while but I always go back for my fix.


A few years back I started going to Overeaters Anonymous (OA). I am currently 44 years old. Prior to my 40's, I would have said I was not a food addict. I didn't really eat all that much, I just have a slow metabolism and bad genes. Then I went to my first meeting and realized these were my people. They weren't all heavy like me (some were quite slim) but they were just like me and I was just like them. That was such an emotional shock. My whole life I thought I was alone and then I discovered I wasn't. I did really well in OA but then I quit going and quit following my eating plan. I have yet to successfully get back to that eating plan. It was such a great eating plan, too. I created it myself. I lost maybe 30 plus lbs but in OA, losing weight is secondary to controlling the overeating so I didn't sweat the weight loss, I was working on not overeating.


I learned a lot in OA --- that I wasn't alone, that I didn't need to eat until I was full - just until I wasn't hungry anymore, that food addiction is a progressive disease, and that even when we are most in control of our eating, our addiction is in the corner lifting weights and getting stronger. I also learned that just about all OA'rs fall off the wagon. Repeatedly. I tend to forget the good things I learned but I never forget that nearly all of them fall off the wagon. So disheartening. It makes me mad that I have to have an addiction that I can't just kick for once and for all. Nope, I have to have a food addiction. The one addiction most people don't care about and don't really consider much of an addiction. In fact, most people joke about it. Don't get me wrong, though, OA is a wonderful program. I wish I had never quit going. It was such a stupid and childish reason.


I don't live in a large city but I live very close to one. I went to my first few OA meetings in that city but couldn't continue making that drive so often so I started going to a local meeting on Saturdays. This meeting consisted of 3 people. Four people once I started going but I think we only had all 4 show up just once. It wasn't a very good meeting and one of the members would stare at me the whole time. It made me so nervous and anxious. I should have said something but I didn't want to embarrass anyone. Usually I would just stare at the reading so I didn't have to see this person staring but one meeting, I had plans immediately after and texted my friend to say when I'd be there. The member who continuously stared at me interrupted the reading to ask that I not use my phone during the meeting because it was distracting. Of course, I was embarrassed at first but then I got really angry. This persons habit of staring distracted me terribly and yet I said nothing and here he had the nerve to say I distracted him with my phone. Of course, I never said anything. I just didn't go back. Showed him! Not very mature, I know.


My history worries me that I won't be able to do this no matter what surgery I choose. So often I give in to my food addiction in all its sneaky and not so sneaky ways. I hate to admit it but sometimes I don't even fight, I just give in. Yes, I plan to start seeing a therapist to help with my food issues but that is not an overnight fix. I'm playing with the idea of going back to OA (not the same local meeting, though!). Maybe they have a better online presence than before. I'm afraid that whichever surgery I choose will not curb my hunger. I can't stand to be hungry. It makes me feel sick and consumes my mind.


I think if I were to ask my friends and family if they thought I could do this, most would answer no. Oh, they would support my efforts but they've all seen me start and stop so many diets and lifestyle changes. After all, I already have a lap band and that didn't work. Granted, only one person aside from myself really understands what happened with the lap band. She got hers right after me and had so many problems it was removed a few years ago. She's going to the seminar with me for support and because she's the most level headed person I know. I trust her to not get overwhelmed or confused with stats or data (I'm easily confused). Okay, one of my other friends might not be so supportive but I don't expect support from her. She generally takes every opportunity to remind me that she lost (and regained and lost and regained) her weight the old fashioned way - hard work and exercise! That's okay, I've lost and regained more than her over the last 30 years using the same methods. I'm just more tired of it than her.


One of the other questions was why I thought I would be successful this time with the drastic diet and lifestyle changes. I answered that I would be seeing a therapist and spending a lot of time with the nutritionist. Which is true. I kind of feel like I know myself and WLS better this time. When I got the band, my reason was that I didn't want to be40 and still be fat. A good reason. I did a lot of reading on the lap band and felt that I would be successful because the band would get rid of my hunger and that would allow me to focus on working on my food issues. I knew I would have to work out still and watch what I ate but I would get full faster and not be hungry. Win! Of course, for various reasons it didn't work out like that and here I am, heavier than ever, trying to decide if yet another WLS is right for me and whether or not I'll just fail the same as I did with the lap band. Can I be stronger than my food addiction? Not just for a few months but really successful?


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