My brain is on Spring Vacation this week so I thought I would re-post something that I originally wrote in July 2010.
I have some new followers and it seems there are a bunch of newbies in Bandland so I thought I would invite the rest of us (the "old-bies") to share some wisdom. I have found myself making comments on some posts of late and saying essentially the same things. Which is probably more of a reflection on me than on others, but here we go anyway, in no particular order:
1) I believe that the lap-band works because it encourages behavior that mimics so-called "normal" eating behavior. Specifically the lap-band requires one to BE MINDFUL while eating, TAKE SMALL BITES, CHEW THOROUGHLY and EAT SLOWLY.
2) Diets don't work, at least not for me. I have heard that somewhere in the neighborhood of 95% of all diets FAIL. I bet that figure is higher for the obese. Most people assume that it is the dieter that fails, but I don't believe that. I think the entire system is flawed to begin with. Naturally thin people don't diet. They eat what they want, in moderation. They eat when they are hungry. They stop when they are full. Some of them exercise and some do not.
3) Diets make people gain weight in the long-term. We have all experienced this. Statistically most people who diet and lose weight eventually re-gain that weight. And then some. One could even make the argument that if your ultimate goal is to make someone obese, you should put them on a diet.
4) There are no such things as "good" foods and "bad" foods. Yes, some foods carry greater nutrition than others. But food just is. We are the ones who identify it as "good" or "bad" and think, "I shouldn't be eating this." or "Man, I should ONLY be eating this." The funny thing about humans is that we have a tendency to covet that which is forbidden. From Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to me on my last diet longing for a bowl of Cherry Garcia Ben & Jerry's (and every illicit love affair, corrupt politician and heist both big and small in between), mankind has wanted what it could not have.
Which is not to suggest that we should eat whatever we want all the time. No one can do that except maybe teenage boys, but the best, most healthful diet, is one of moderation.
5) Satisfaction is really important. I ate food for 20 years of my life and NEVER allowed myself to truly enjoy it. I ate as much as I could until my brain started shouting at me that I was a pig and then I stopped. I was never satisfied, never had "enough", because food and eating were about shame and frustration and defiance, not about nourishing my body.
6) We have to reclaim the innate ability to recognize hunger and satiety. Every baby is born knowing when they are hungry and when they are full. Very quickly the rest of the world becomes involved in attempting to change how those things are perceived. Parents want the baby on a feeding schedule for their convenience. Children that cling to their innate sense are labeled "picky eaters". We don't celebrate that they recognize that their hunger is satisfied by a tablespoon or two of food. Instead we lament that they are hungry every hour and try to get them to eat more at mealtimes. We teach our children to eat in a certain way. This happens to every child, thin or fat. But to those who eventually grow up to have a weight problem, something else occurs. At some point, either external or internal forces cause that person to believe that they need a diet to tell them what and when and how much to eat. But what we really needed was to learn how to eat according to the needs of our body. The diet actually makes it worse because it teaches us that we require some external force (the diet) to tell us these things. We become further alienated from our internal sense of hunger and satiety. Eventually eating becomes about everything but hunger and satiety. It is about soothing jagged emotions or entertaining ourselves when bored, but not about nourishing our bodies. And the thing is that if you are eating for any reason other than nourishing your body, it is nearly impossible to become satisfied. So we keep eating.
As you can probably tell, I am really passionate about these issues. I hate that we live in a world that says that if you aren't thin, you are a second-class citizen. I hate that my own self-esteem is wrapped up in these same ideals. I hate that I walk into a room and size myself up against the other fatties and that I read posts from Bandsters who started smaller than I was at the beginning and I judge them for it. But I don't regret that it took the lap-band for me to begin coming to grips with all of this stuff. Much of it I knew before I was banded, but I couldn't figure out how to implement it in my life. To me the idea of quitting dieting was an excuse to binge. I believed all foods were equally valid, were "good", but I couldn't get the hang of the moderation part of it. I needed the lap-band to teach me to mimic the naturally thin behaviors that I listed in #1.
So please, for the newbies and the old-bies, share your wisdom. You don't have to have a lap-band to participate. An opinion and a brain will suffice.