Help I'm gaining! How did you change your relationship with food?


22 posts in this topic

I am two years post op and I feel a lot of shame when it comes to my weight gain since surgery. I feel like I have failed and that once again food is winning and my waist line is losing. After weight loss surgery gaining weight is quite terrifying. I feel like I am slipping down a rabbit whole and the other side is all too familiar. There isn’t a single person that has weight loss surgery that doesn’t promise themselves that this will NEVER happen again, and for some of us it does happen. I suppose for me the first thing I need to do is stop punishing myself because that has never helped me gain control of my eating, the second thing is to take stock of why it has happened. For me that is very simple, I didn’t work on my head, I only worked on my body, I didn’t unfriend my toxic friend food! We are still in a dysfunctional relationship. The surgery limited my food intake, but it didn’t equip me with new coping mechanisms and unfortunately food still plays an important role in helping me relax, sooths me when I’m down, occupies me when I’m bored and helps me hide from the world when I don’t want to be seen.

I have gained 15lbs since my surgery 2 years ago and some may even say that’s normal, but I know my eating is out of control.

I have gained 10 lbs. in the last two months. For those of you that have been post –surgery for a long time, and have successfully maintained, how did you fix your head and your relationship with food?

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OK ladies...so the FIRST step is what you are doing RIGHT here! You are not in denial any more (and let's face it, we were all there pre-surgery). You are owning up to the fact that you are not perfect...none of us are! But you are also facing the hard fact that you are going down a rabbit hole and came here to find some inspiration.

I am 3 years + post op and I have gained back as much as 7 lbs (am now back at goal) but like you, FREAKED out! When I was 223 lbs, the thought of weighing 160 something was thrilling....now, if I get in the 140's I feel completely out of control. SO, this is a good thing for us!

If you have recognized that you are self-medicating with food, then of course you need to address all those issues, comfort, boredom, depression. Everyone is different so you need to find the right answer for you: support groups, therapy, reading books or blogs from others, forcing yourself to meet other people socially (meetup.com is my all time favorite....this is where you FIND YOUR PEOPLE!!!). Once you start living a more full life you will be more motivated to get and keep the weight off.

And I will say the 5 Day Pouch Test does help you get back on track. Hey, try it for 2 or 3 days if you don't think you can do 5. Or do the 5:2. I have said it before, I will say it again. Even normal weight people (and we are one of them now) gain weight and pull it together before it's too late.....YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!! It's summer....get out and move!

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My Bariatric nurse is a bypass patient several years out from surgery. She does the three month checkups and discussion groups before we see the doctor. She admitted she fell off the wagon and gained 45 lbs last year. She described how she went back to the basics and started with the routine we all went through post op - liquids, puréed food, soft Protein, 4oz solid protein, 1/2 C veg, 1/2 C fruit, no Snacks, getting in her Water, eliminating caffeine and alcohol to reset her body and her mind. She admitted it was very difficult because the rest of the family was eating a typical diet and she had to adapt what they were eating to her own needs. I guess it might be helpful to get back into a support group or visit your nutritionist to help reset your motivation. We all know we have a tool for weight loss but we have to allow the tool to work and to get back on the plan for a healthy reset.

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I am 2 years post-op from RNY surgery. My weight is fairly stable. On a recent visit to my nutritionist, I asked her "Why do some people lose significant weight after WLS only to gain it back years later?" Her response was because of grazing.

I agree with you that gaining 10 pounds over the last two months sounds like it is on the high side and is of concern.

Make sure you are meeting your daily Protein, Fluid and Vitamin requirements. Are you taking any medications that have an adverse side effect of weight gain? What works for me is when I graze (snack); I graze on Protein and fats. Fats have the power to take away hunger. Without hunger it is not difficult to maintain my weight. Since I am 2 years post-op, I have begun to introduce fats back in my diet. I drink whole milk and use real butter. I begin each day with a cup of coffee. I top it with heaping spoon of real whip cream. This is whip cream that I make. It has no processed sugar. I use Splenda instead. I also consume Adkin's treats, because it contains fats but not processed sugars. It works for me. But I also steer clear of any processed sugars in my food - period. I will use artificial sweeteners (such as Spenda and sugar alcohols), low calorie natural sweeteners (such as Stevia) and natural sugars found in fruits and milk. Last week I hit my lowest weight thus far - 149.0.

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I'm a year and 10 months out and gained 5 outside my goal of 145 that I'd been maintaining for 1 year. I've returned to basics... journaling food and exercise, cranking up my exercise intensity, (I never stopped exercising, but let the intensity fall). Cut back on the alcohol and treats, etc and I'm finally back to the top end of goal. Now working on getting of 10 pounds to put me a bit below goal (still well withing normal BMI) and allow for some wiggle room. Cutting out as much processed crap as I can, trying to keep between 1000-1200 calories per day, exercising 5x per week, getting my 75+g of Protein every day. It's working, but it's slow. Fix my head and my relationship with food? Nope. It's still a fight. Every damn day.

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I have to stay 900 calories or under or I gain. Doesn't matter that it's good healthy food that we are supposed to eat - if I go over 900 (I'm talking like 1100 or 1200) - I gain weight and it comes back very quickly. I've decided that I've messed up my metabolism so bad it doesn't know what the heck is going on. But if I gain a few lbs - I go back on 2 Protein shakes and 1 meal a day until it disappears. I never did reach goal - lost really well for 8 months and then it stopped - totally. I track everything on my fitness pal and doctor and nutritionist say that this is just the way it is for some people. Very discouraging sometimes but at least I know what to do now!! I'm almost 2 years out.

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I wonder how many of us get triggered when we read someone's post that says they feel SHAME about gaining weight? That's what so many of us do--beat ourselves up. We have to find that strength to CHALLENGE ourselves to stop the shaming and be okay with giving ourselves a little more love. Our self-talk plays an important role in WLS--if you "feel like a failure" it's much easier for your brain to say you ARE a failure. It is SOOO okay to not be perfect at this! First and foremost, try to focus on your AMAZING accomplishment. Then, if you accept this tiny setback with excitement and determination and NOT FEAR, you can have fun with regaining the control that you know you can achieve. (Are you keeping this all in perspective--this IS a tiny setback in your 2 year WLS big picture, right?)

Changing our relationship with food for the rest of our lives is soooo complicated, right? But NOT impossible!

For me, it started before my surgery with the commitment that I MUST choose to totally let go of all my old, familiar, comfortable unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle that went with that, and be willing to open my mind to new ideas and learn how to eati whole, unprocessed quality foods. To start that process, I had to actually take pen and paper and write down, in much detail, the actual foods that I KNEW very much contributed every day to my obesity (we all know what they are, if we are totally honest with ourselves, but often that is HARD to admit). Until I learned my new eating habits and was totally confident with myself in them (for me that took 18 months), I elimated those identified foods from my life. I never felt "deprived" because I worked hard to find substitutes for them that were WLS-friendly (not store-bought processed foods, but home-made).

Another big impact for me was a head game that I began playing with myself, that still works for me today (at 4 years out). When I see (or smell) something that triggers a strong temptation, I simply say to myself, "I don't eat that anymore." (or variations like "I CHOOSE healthy foods now," etc). It sounds silly, but there is science that backs up that this repetition to the subconscious mind can be effective.

Lastly, I educated myself in anatomy and physiology (actually, I went back to college and achieved my degree in nutrition) to better ensure my WLS success. No, I'm not suggesting that nutrition degree=success, BY ANY MEANS! What I am suggesting is that I think generally it helps if we truly educate ourselves to understand and respect the miracle that our bodies are. We owe it to our bodies to CHOOSE to feed them the whole, natural, unprocessed foods that our body systems were meant to process and digest to keep us healthy. food is meant to be fuel and medicine for the body. Oh so sadly, donuts, chili cheese fries, and Cheetos don't make the cut. Sigh...

It has been (and continues to be) hard, hard work. I think almost everyone says that. But I feel at wonderful peace now that I have firmly changed my relationship with food. It's still hard to believe because it's been such a dysfunction my whole life. How do I define this change?

1) I control my food. It does not control me. I CHOOSE my power. Can't is not in my vocabulary.

2) I don't have to be interested in the latest "diet" that comes out ever again. There is no such thing as being on a

diet anymore.

3) Junk food does not live in my house. But, if I am out and want, for instance, an ice cream cone, or dessert at a

restaurant, or a "somewhat healthy" fast-food meal (that would not include french fries!), I never have to think of any

of these things in the term of

CHEATING or GUILT. These are OCCASIONAL indulgences (once or twice a month). It feels so liberating to

never again berate myself by self-labeling as a cheater or being guilt-ridden over FOOD!

4) I never again have to play the "I'll exercise off" the 1/2 gallon of ice cream I ate yesterday game by doing crazy

"dieting and exercising" the next day. Now I simply maintain my weight with 1/2 hour of consistent exercise every day.

Period.

5) The bathroom scale does not define my day or my mood or my life. There's no weighing every day to see what the

constant poor eating choices do to the number on the scale.

Most/many people's weights vary naturally within a 5-pound range week-to-week. So all I have to do is joyfully visit

my scale once a week to see that I am in my 5-pound range.

Also, just wanted to share--

There are several great self-help books/websites on changing relationship with food/mindful eating. Many have been mentioned here on BP. Here's a couple of my favorites:

>Book: 50 way to soothe yourself without food by Susan Albers, PsyD

Dr Albers is a licensed clinical psychologist; easy reading; short chapters; www.sootheyourselfwithoutfood.com

>Website/Newsletter: AmIHungry.com

by Michelle May, MD She addresses mindful eating, binge eating, etc.

>Book: Women, Food, & God by Geneen Roth Website: geneenroth.com

Well-respected author in the weight-loss field. Has written many books. Her works elicit deep soul-searching. Has online newsletter and periodically conducts free online webinars.

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Thanks so much for your input, advise and ideas. In particular LivingFree! Great insight :)

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Your most important step was putting it out there with us, your community of normal people who are right here with you. We understand and support your honesty. Stay true to who you are and trust that you have people who will ALWAYS SUPPORT YOU!

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