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!