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I am a food addict. And Bypass isn't a cure.



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Appreciate all these responses! I hope my post will be helpful to those in similar situations who are researching the surgery. And yes, for clarity, I kneW Bypass wasn't going to be the cure. But I still... hoped. Or thought it would make it easier to take control of that part of the eating issue. It really doesn't. What it haS done is shone a bright light on my addiction... because I immediately feel ill and swear it's not worth it in the throes of nausea... and then seem to lose that resolve a few hours later when I magically feel fine again. Before surgery I never had that kind of instant, black and white feedback. I've never spoken with a therapist about my food issues. But the encouragement in these responses makes that option sound promising. Thank you!

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14 hours ago, MaybeMeow2 said:

What it haS done is shone a bright light on my addiction... because I immediately feel ill and swear it's not worth it in the throes of nausea... and then seem to lose that resolve a few hours later when I magically feel fine again. Before surgery I never had that kind of instant, black and white feedback.

IMO you have a very important key in your hand with that "immediate feedback". Use it. Don't refer to yourself simply as "an addict" or as to "having an addiction". This can actually be quite destructive and not necessarily empowering.

The book "Brain over Binge" might be helpful. It's not everyone's cup of tea but I think it's a gem. Also "Never Binge Again" (IIRC this one is a free e-book for Kindle) is an interesting read for sure.

Quote

It really doesn't.

It does. But you have to put it to work properly.

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On 11/28/2020 at 7:04 PM, MaybeMeow2 said:

Hi Gang. Meow here. 5.5 months post op bypass. I've had slow but steady losses. (SW:217 CW:178. GW: 150)

And I just felt the need to make a post about my sweet addiction. Before my surgery I found myself very concerned about dumping. Often asking in the forum whether Bypass meant I could never have treats again and being assured I could "eventually" or "a bite or two" or "in moderation" etc. This brought me great relief. I knew then I wasn't in the ideal frame of mind but I was doing the best I could.

I found at about 4 weeks post op I could tolerate about 5 of my favorite chocolate covered almonds and ate them every night as a reward for hitting my Protein and Water goals. Eventually I increased that to 10 choco almonds. Then it moved to other Desserts or candy. What I've found is my entire eating plan is focused on getting my "healthys" in so I can have a treat at the end of the day. I become obsessed. I realize I've always been that way. Eat healthy so you can indulge.

I find I get nauseous if I eat a full portion of dessert. But I can usually get away with eating half. So I do. Every day. Or I eat the full portion and get nauseous. I get thru it. Usually lasts about 30 minutes. I feel miserable. I don't throw up. When I'm in the middle of the nausea I swear I'll never have sugar again. But then it passes and I'm the addict again.

The last couple months I've somehow justified 2 treats a day. And this Thanksgiving was the first time I really realized how deeply I don't have control over my treat addiction. I was surrounded by baked goods. I'd eat a small one. Feel sick. Then a couple hours do it again. Over the 2 days of celebration I made myself feel sick about 5 times. The nausea is miserable. Sweats, light headed, toe-curling nausea. Then it passes. And I'm fine. And like a drug addict I indulge again. It's shocking. It's like I'm binging. Except I never throw up and it's only one treat at a time.

I guess my point is... bypass didn't cure me. I do feel sick when I eat too much sugar. But it doesn't stop me from doing it. From constantly seeing how much I can have before I feel sick. I have a lot of work to do before I am no longer "unhealthy" regardless of my weight. Wanted to share in case others are sweet addicts and wondering how the surgery will affect that.

I agree this subject never gets the attention it deserves from any surgery groups or even Drs. Weirdly, watching 'My 600 lb life' before we decided to have the surgery and through the program helped me with this even more then my wonderful WL team did with the surgeon. I remembered watching an episode early on where the person had the surgery but came to the 2 month appt and eventually admitted that he just ate a little bit of his normal sweets and 'no no's' all day in small increments. Anyone watching the show know Dr. Now and his response to that lol. His voice is forever in my head with the 'head hunger' and warnings :-).

I'm 4 months out. I don't know about others here but my program with my Drs was pretty strict the first 6 months and I had to lose a percentage before I got the surgery-not per insurance but per my WL Dr. I also had to have counseling every month for six months and am still getting it (just started back up). I had to learn to eat beforehand and it helped tons. I am not a sugar addict but a Pasta freak. I can even eat it easier then my protein-makes me less sick. If I have popcorn (a slider food) I can eat more of that too before getting sick. So I just avoid it. I do put it to holidays as a treat but only make up about 2 tbsp in the popper without any salt or butter (always done this) and it does the trick. I stick to just my Protein to keep full-my nut is pretty helpful with this aspect too).

The way food is seen needs to be the target for this surgery. I have days that are hormonal where I could easily eat something bad for me knowing full well I will curl up in agony for the next hours but feel it's worth it. But I don't do that. I drink instead or have a sugar free popsicle. Then, after so many months, the craving is really gone. My worst days are when I desperately want a glass of cold diet pop. Some days are killers for that but I'm learning to just drink Water with ice when that happens.

I think you are doing awesome-people really don't realize how difficult this whole process and surgery with the WL is. Thanks for the great post!

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1 hour ago, ichabodny said:

I agree this subject never gets the attention it deserves from any surgery groups

As long as patients are getting scolded for their... "misbehavior" and on internet boards these three answers are dominant, this won't most likely not change.

1) Try harder!

2) Follow your plan! (Many times followed by "I did follow my plan to the T during weight loss phase!!" which isn't really helpful to someone struggling.)

3) Get a therapist! (I guess there must be some place where therapists specializing in eating issues don't have months long waiting lists and don't cost fortune simply fall out of the sky, yes?)

There are several taboo subjects when it comes to WLS. Patients simply don't talk about it or only behind the metaphorical closed doors, doesn't matter if it's talking to other patients or their treatment team. Disordered eating is interestingly enough one of these subjects. Unfortunately disordered eating is all too often encouraged by fellow patients and sometimes also treatment teams as it seems.

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On 12/4/2020 at 11:43 PM, MaybeMeow2 said:

I kneW Bypass wasn't going to be the cure. But I still... hoped. Or thought it would make it easier to take control of that part of the eating issue. It really doesn't. What it haS done is shone a bright light on my addiction

This has been my experience too. I find myself getting fed up with eating the same sorts of food all the time (I'm in soft eating phase). I still can't tolerate most meat or tinned fish and so my meal options remain limited, bearing in mind calorific and Protein requirements. I could quite easily revert to eating all of the wrong sorts of food when I'm depressed or bored, and unfortunately the current situation here in winter and in lockdown in the UK is depressing and boring....

So I'm trying to use a combination of willpower and planning, and I do factor in 1 x "treat" per day if I stick to the eating plan - and I count the calories. The treats aren't what I would have considered treats 6 months ago, but so far it's working. My treats include e.g. a small bag of lentil crisps (90 calories/2.2 protein) or 5 sugar free sweets (40 calories/0 protein!). I don't think I'm ever going to see an apple as a treat, so I figure I just have to work with who I am.

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27 minutes ago, Deb9386 said:

I don't think I'm ever going to see an apple as a treat

Why would anyone view a diet staple as a treat anyway?

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Thank you for sharing this. I just decided that I’m going to get bariatric surgery and I’m trying to get as much info as possible. My Mom is a baker and sweets have been tied into my childhood and emotions my whole life. I’m just now coming to terms with not eating my Mom’s food again but in the back of my mind I’m thinking I can do this!

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On 12/29/2020 at 5:19 PM, summerset said:

There are several taboo subjects when it comes to WLS. Patients simply don't talk about it or only behind the metaphorical closed doors, doesn't matter if it's talking to other patients or their treatment team. Disordered eating is interestingly enough one of these subjects. Unfortunately disordered eating is all too often encouraged by fellow patients and sometimes also treatment teams as it seems.

One of the things that has surprised me the most about the bariatric community is the complete lack of talk about disordered eating. I really don't know what I expected, but I get serious chills when I see someone advocating ignoring what a nutritionist says and that 400 calories is a perfectly sustainable long-term diet.

I mean, let's be honest in this little group of ours: we didn't end up here because we understood moderation and flexible control all too well. Insanity like trying to live on 400 calories a day for months and years is a a binge/purge cycle in its infancy, I promise you that.

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Blythe Baird just came into my mind:

Quote

If you develop an eating disorder when you are already thin to begin with, you go to the hospital. If you develop an eating disorder when you are not thin to begin with, you are a success story

I've never found this to me more true than when looking at the WLS community.

It doesn't matter how bad the relationship with food still is, even if it got worse. It doesn't matter when patients are starving themselves. It doesn't matter when patients overexercise. It doesn't matter when patients develop an intense fear of eating "bad foods".

All of this doesn't matter to the patient all too often (and sometimes even not to the treatment teams as it seems) - as long as there is weight loss and finally that magical line to a normal BMI is crossed.

The worst are the "motivational posts" when someone makes a vow to "get back on track" (usually with some kind of starvation or semi-starvation diet):

YOU GO, GIRL!!

YOU GOT THIS!!!

YOU'RE GOING TO NAIL THIS!!!

Going to get and nail exactly what? Getting onto the next dieting-bingeing-merry-go-round?? Getting deeper into disordered eating??

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3 hours ago, OAGBPal said:

One of the things that has surprised me the most about the bariatric community is the complete lack of talk about disordered eating.

I never quite understood this. Sometimes I think it comes with the territory.

Psychological exam needs to rule out an "eating disorder" before the patient is going to be deemed eligible for WLS. Ruling out an ED in someone who is heavy enough to need WLS... my ass.

So maybe it's simply a thing of not being allowed to admit disordered eating. Just like one isn't allowed to admit that plastics are also for looking better and feeling better when we all know it's BS.

Second thing is that the media only knows two eating disorders: anorexia and bulimia. We're just being fat and gross and weak willed.

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I mean, let's be honest in this little group of ours: we didn't end up here because we understood moderation and flexible control all too well.

That's one of the worst things: remaining in the old black and white mode and refusing to learn being flexible - all too often out of fear.

"I can't be trusted with food!"

"I can't eat this or that in moderation!"

"I'm a food/sugar addict!"

"Only abstinence works for me!"

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Insanity like trying to live on 400 calories a day for months and years is a a binge/purge cycle in its infancy, I promise you that.

Of course it is. Look at all the "HEEEEEELP!!! I've fallen off the wagon!!!" posts.

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Thank you Summerset and OAGBPal for saying what I have wanted to say for the past several months. I cringe when I see posts like "is XXX calories a day enough" or "I've only lost X pounds PER DAY" or "as a WLS veteran I eat 600 calories a day"! As a person who has been thin for 80 percent of my life, I assure you that if you are unhappy as a fat person, you will eventually be unhappy as a thin one also. Just because one has a "normal" BMI doesn't mean one has a healthy relationship with food. So why did I have WLS? Truth be told, I wanted an easy fix to lose the weight. And it worked! Now it's up to me to work on my relationship with food but that doesn't mean I'm going from one end of the spectrum (overeating) to the other end (starvation).

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Posted (edited)

6 hours ago, km13118 said:

Thank you Summerset and OAGBPal for saying what I have wanted to say for the past several months. I cringe when I see posts like "is XXX calories a day enough" or "I've only lost X pounds PER DAY" or "as a WLS veteran I eat 600 calories a day"! As a person who has been thin for 80 percent of my life, I assure you that if you are unhappy as a fat person, you will eventually be unhappy as a thin one also. Just because one has a "normal" BMI doesn't mean one has a healthy relationship with food. So why did I have WLS? Truth be told, I wanted an easy fix to lose the weight. And it worked! Now it's up to me to work on my relationship with food but that doesn't mean I'm going from one end of the spectrum (overeating) to the other end (starvation).

Thank you. I want to make sure to add that this is not a jab at anyone or any group on my end, at all. I have deep respect for the struggles people are having, and I truly understand needing to find one's own path.

I hear of all these US insurance company regimens; liquid diets that last for weeks and month pre op (making zero sense, as long as the pt. shrinks that liver, who cares where the calories come from?!). Patients being told to sip Water months before surgery because 'they need to learn that'. That kind of approach is found in the same box as 'tell the super obese patient to eat less to lose weight'. No sh*t, Sherlock!

At zero point is

  • weight stability
  • de-coupling eating from emotions
  • self-care

being taught.

What if patients learned why their relationship with food is so strained and then were told to maintain their weight for a bit, just to learn what that is ... and subsequently gain confidence they'll be able to do it after WLS? Nope, Optifast Ultra Plus for you. For 2 months. Because we can.

Anyway. It's nice there's at least a few other heretics here. :)

Edited by OAGBPal

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