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22 Months Post-Op and losing control



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Greetings all,

I have been off this board for some time now, but I have come back because I need support. I lost 110 lbs with the gastric sleeve surgery in March 2019 and was doing so great until the pandemic started last March. Before I was restricted to the home office I was doing so well, I was working out every day at the company gym during lunch and I was careful about what I ate. Since then, my workouts have all but ceased, I may squeeze in a cardio session about once a week now. My eating habits are still restricted by the sleeve, but I have been eating things that get through easily, many sweets, high fat and high salt foods have been making their way into my diet.

That said, the biggest issue was alcohol abuse. I was getting buzzed nearly every night from August through the end of the year. While I was feeling good I would also lose inhibitions about not snacking as well. I forced myself off the vodka (which was easy to hide from the family) and I have been doing well in the last 3 weeks since quitting, but I've been replacing those lost good feelings with even more Snacks.

I feel like I'm losing control and it's only a matter of time until I undo all of my great work. I haven't weighed myself in months, but I estimate that I've gained back about 50% of what I lost, I will find out in a couple weeks at my Dr appt. I need to find a way to get this turned around because all my new skinny clothes don't fit anymore and I'm starting to wear my fat clothes again.

It's bad...FML...

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I'm so sorry that you are going through this!! As Dr Phil says "You can't fix what you don't acknowledge" so it sounds like you are getting on the right path! Congratulations on kicking the alcohol habit! Definitely not easy.

I am fairly new here (well, almost 6 months out), but I have read a lot about the "pouch reset" which involves about a week of going back to basics. I think you need to get on a scale and then focus on Protein and Water goals again!

Good luck!!

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Good for you for reaching out and getting your thoughts down in writing. The honesty is great, too.

Look, I'm not a professional therapist by any means, but I wanted to share a few thoughts you may consider whether apply or not. I'm sure there'll be a ton of comments telling you to go to AA and to get in the right mindset etc.

What I recognize from your story is avoidance behavior. Instead of dealing with my emotions, I'd stuff myself with food. I know people do the same with drugs, sex, alcohol etc. It seems you're shifting from one avoidance to the other.

There's also an element of allowance. If you have no way of getting to your Snacks, getting drunk is a great way to get there. As in ... if your sober self won't allow you snacks, replace it with the drunk self! As you figured out, it really didn't work in the long run.

I'd look into self care, and reaching out to someone to talk to who knows about your specific issues. The reason I say self care is I believe (from own experiences) binges and avoidance behavior tend to disappear once I allow myself to a) feel things and b) let loose a little here and there.

After all, you won't go through life without slipping up. If you allow yourself to slip here and there, the falls could get easier to deal with.

Best of luck. And remember: you're a perfectly okay human being.

Edited by OAGBPal

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go back to what you were doing the first year. Not all the way back to Protein Shakes and soft foods, but the 'protein first, then non-starchy vegetables, then if you have room, a small serving of fruit or whole-grain carb' rule (or some such). Weigh, measure, and log your food. Rein this in before you gain all your weight back - you can do it!

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Welcome back! Don't beat yourself up -- this has been a rough year for everyone and A LOT of people have had weight gain during the pandemic. It's not too late to get back on track.

There are a lot of options for working out at home. I have no desire to go to a gym (plus, I live in a rural area and it would be a long drive to get to a gym), so I would rather work out at home. I do a YouTube video for cardio every day. There are so many free workout videos available (my favorite is Leslie Sansone). And you can do strength training with an inexpensive set of resistance bands.

Maybe you could try cutting out Snacks completely. For me, snacking was a big part of my weight problems in the first place, so I am now sticking to three meals per day and not snacking at all between meals, other than Protein Drinks (and the occasional sugar-free hard candy). I'm only 6 months out from surgery, so I'm sure it's easier for me than it is for you, but I find that a warm beverage fills me up for a while.

I think tracking your food intake is really important. I love MyFitnessPal, and something that helps me is to enter my food BEFORE I eat it. If you're not up to that detailed tracking, you could try an app like Ate Food Diary. All you have to do with that is take a picture of what you eat and say whether it's on path or off path.

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Welcome back. And thank you for being so honest about your struggles. Life will always throw things at us that mess up our progress & our intentions. It’s the ongoing struggle we face. We just have to identify strategies to better manage how we react/respond. And never be afraid to ask for help.

I agree with @OAGBPal. I’m not an expert either but I think it’s time to seek some help to guide you through understanding the emotional issues driving you to eat & drink. We know that addiction switching is not unusual after wls as you seek to find other ways than eating to hide or soothe. The counsellor/therapist should be able to offer you some strategies to support you.

I’m a bit of a believer in getting the temptations out of your house. If you don’t have the high fat, sugar & salt foods in your house you can’t eat them. You can’t eat them if you don’t buy them. I know it’s harder to do if you have family who wants to eats them though. A nutritionalist should be able to suggest healthier snack options the whole family can enjoy.

Go back to the basics. Track your intake, measure what you eat. Smaller portions, Protein first, keep your fluids up, etc.

Good luck.

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I'm sorry you've gone through this. But there is good news. First, you still have an awesome tool in the form of a small pouch tummy, and second, you have recognised where you need change.

I've also regained about 40% of what I lost - I'm a bit further out (6 years in March) so I can probably eat a bit more. But like you, my problem was with the sweets - chocolate, crisps, ice cream all went down a treat for me.

Your first step is to get on the scale. Figure out what you're dealing with. Who knows - it might not even be as bad as you imagine. But until you know what you're dealing with, you can't start to turn it around. Once you know what you need to lose, then you can start building a plan that works for you to lose it. Work out how many calories you burn, work out how many calories you need to consume to lose a healthy 1 or 2 lbs a week. Don't be tempted to speed things up too much with massive calorie deficits - it might work for a bit but it won't be sustainable. Aim for slow and steady.

The key thing is to get back to using your pouch as your best tool. Plan Protein heavy meals at regular points through the day. The aim isn't necessarily to say 'I'm never having sweets', it is to create the conditions where you don't want the sweets, because you're always nicely full and satisfied from your last meal. Have some healthy Snacks to tide you through the day.

I agree too about tracking your calories. I use MyFitnessPal. To work well, you need to be able to measure your food accurately. That can be a pain in the bum when you're out and about going to work, but if you're working from home, then this can be really helpful. For me, it's much easier to measure and record my food intake when I'm doing 95% of my eating at home. Recording what you eat before you eat it is helpful for making better choices, and measuring before you eat is helpful for Portion Control.

And measuring your calories also has another advantage: it lets you know how much you have to play with. If you plan your meals and record them straight off, each morning, you'll then know how much you can have in snacks. It depends on your strategy - I know some on here prefer cutting snacks out completely, not having them in the house. That may work for you. If it doesn't, the only approach that works for me is allowing myself some snacks but making sure they are within my calorie limit, and I try to have them at night after dinner. If I didn't do that, I would absolutely fall off the wagon entirely.

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@livingstone - that's the best advice I've seen so far. Very good points, all of them.

I'd add to OP that if you have that "ok gotta lose FAST now that I have the motivation", you may want to seriously look into your relationship with food. Once I freed myself from the eternal binge/purge that's ingrained in that kind of thinking, I was finally able to get my stuff under control. You really don't want to start a new cycle of yo-yo-dieting.

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