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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Answering MandaPanda's question

MandaPanda wrote a thought-provoking post today asking the question,

Have YOU made the mental changes necessary for long term success?
I'm nearly two years post-op.  I've been at goal for over a year.  I've lost 115 lbs.  I think maintenance is more difficult than losing weight was, at least for me.  So how do I answer MandaPanda's question?
Dear Lord I sincerely hope I have changed!  I used to be pretty nuts about food.  I thought about eating all the time - what I was eating, what I should be eating, what I shouldn't be eating, what I wanted to be eating.  When I wasn't thinking about food, I was thinking about my weight.  If I happened to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, my first thought as my foot hit the carpet was, "I am so fat.  I need to lose weight.".  I tried all sorts of diets, exercise programs, binging and purging, Overeaters Anonymous, binging and starving, binging and binging.  I read self-help books and diet books.  I saw several therapists and talked and talked and talked about it. I took medication.  I went through eating disorder out-patient treatment.  I felt out of control with food.  Although I was generally fairly happy, I was miserable when it came to food/weight issues.  I felt helpless, hopeless.  I was certain that I would end up weighing 500 lbs if I let myself eat the way I wanted. 

I don't feel like that now.  I don't think I'll end up fat.  I seldom want to overeat.  Sometimes I want to make less-than stellar food choices and in truth sometimes I do make less-than stellar food choices, but I don't beat myself up about it.  I don't feel out of control.  It isn't all black and white anymore.  I'm not "fat" and my food choices aren't "bad".  Sometimes I chose foods that lack nutritional content, but it isn't a reflection of my value as human being as it once was.  My brain changed when I had surgery.  I don't know how or why, but it did and I'm so grateful!
I think I knew that having surgery was doing something about the problem so I could quit beating myself up.  Even when I was still overweight, I knew I was losing weight and I felt confident that I could keep it up.  I think one of the reasons that I was successful was that I refused to think of it as a temporary diet.  I made choices and continue to make choices that I believe I can sustain throughout my life.  I don't do typical "diet" sort of behaviors like weighing and measuring my food.  I only log my food when I am struggling and want to get back on track.  I eat "normal" foods like full-fat dairy products.  I avoid sugar-free, fat-free foods like the plague.  My Lap-band keeps my portions reasonable.  As long as I eat at mealtimes and avoid snacking, my weight stays the same.  I exercise every day, but in a very moderate sort of way.  

So yes, I do think I've changed or am changing enough to continue being successful.  I recently noticed I was eating more than normal - snacking, eating unplanned desserts.  Instead of it turning into a December-long binge, I start logging my food.  Amazing how that simple action can change how I feel!  It's tools like these that make me confident that I can do it into the future!


greenie said...

Excellent post! As my surgery approaches and I read blog after blog, I notice a lot of extremes...extremely dedicated, to extremely struggling. People who count every gram of.fat, sugar, etc.. to people who still binge on cookies and pizza and bread,.etc... As I read all this, I take it all in and think about how I want to work with my band. I want to be MODERATE. For most life, extremes are not good. I envision myself being a bit extreme in the beginning as I get used to this new way of life. But I really believe dedication and MODERATION is the key. you've really settled into that mentality. You are very inspirational to me. I hope to ne as successful! Thanks for sharing!

Cat said...

Wow I love this post. I made choices over these last 9 months since I've found your blog (and read it from beginning to current thank you very much!) that I do not live my life thinking of food as good or bad. I try to live making more healthful choices. I still rely on my weighing and measuring because I'm comfortable with that. I think that so much of what you said is true for me too. I sometimes make less than healthful choices, but I always look at it like, "ok, let's make a more healthful choice next time." There is no beating myself up anymore. There is also no just going off the deep end binging anymore and that, more than anything makes me grateful everyday for my band. Thank you for posting this.

FreeJulie said...

Excellent post - I sure enjoy reading your blog! I will think about my own response to the Manda/Amanda-posed question. :)

Rain Howard said...

I have a constant mental struggle every day. The depression doesn't help, nor does the history of eating disorders. I understand all to well the way the mind works, both with and against you. Even for those of us who haven't had surgery it's largely mental and changing how we think about food.

By the way, you look fabulous.

Ronnie said...

You're such an inspiration. I think I've found my inner-peace with food from reading your posts and the comments you've left on my blog. I love your approach to this whole journey. :)

Theresa aka Tessie Rose said...

You have been such a source of knowlege and inspiration to me. I wanna be like you when I grow up, lol!

Sandy Lee said...

Will you consider being one of our Superstars. Sometimes reviewing what you did to get where you are will help you and I know it will help so many others. You can send me an email at I'd love to here from you. The questions are on the blog: . I have a couple to post for the next two months but need many many more inspirations. Please?

MandaPanda said...

I think it's the moderation you practice that we should all be aiming for. I think that's the mental change I want for myself and I'm getting there...slowly. Life isn't all or nothing and thin people don't think of food as good or bad or anything but food. Thanks for posting this today!