Have you noticed the blogs where people have become super-studs running 5Ks, commuting by bicycle, doing Zumba and lifting weights like it's their JOB? What about those who are now eating for health and nutrition instead of eating for entertainment and stress release? A few bloggers have gotten out of bad relationships with spouses and friends as well. Which makes me wonder, do we become different people after weight loss surgery?
My messed up relationship with food was a HUGE part of who I was. In a lot of ways, I felt like two people: There was the healthy Amanda who has been a vegetarian since age 19, who exercised regularly, who cared about health and fitness. And then there was the other Amanda, who wanted to binge and overeat at every opportunity. She looked at giving up unhealthy foods and unhealthy behaviors like someone looks at giving up their hair. She didn't want any part of it. That Amanda clung to her behaviors. She wanted to be thin, but she didn't want to change.
I lived in two states. I was either overeating and/or binging or I was carefully dieting, recording the fat and calorie content of every morsel that went into my mouth, exercising religiously and obsessing about food. If I screwed up on the diet, all hell would break loose and I'd eat and eat and eat. There was NO MIDDLE GROUND. There was NO MODERATION. It was either one or the other. I didn't even believe that I could ever be normal with food or have a normal life in that regard. I do not remember EVER, not one day in my entire life, when I can honestly say that I was not in one extreme or the other.
Weight loss surgery changed everything. It did things I didn't know it could or would. I hoped that I would lose weight, but I didn't know that I would discover the freedom and joy of a life of moderation. My Lap-band made me eat smaller portions. It made me slow down when I was eating. I actually did not always do a bad job with food choices pre-op so I just continued eating the foods I always had. I didn't know my problem was really one of portion control until I could sit down and eat a moderate portion and feel good about it.
As I lost weight, I stopped beating myself up. I stopped hating myself when it came to food. I learned to ENJOY the food I ate instead of feeling ashamed when I ate, no matter what I was eating. I began to enjoy eating for good health and for fitness. I savored the treats I ate, but I also now understand that moderation doesn't mean eating everything I want, all the time. I have to regulate the portions and frequency of desserts and snack foods and I have discovered that I can do this. Sometimes I fail and make bad choices, but generally I do a pretty good job.
I've had a chance in the last few months to really remember what it was like for me before weight loss surgery. Those who read my blog know I gained a few pounds over the holidays and have struggled to take them off. I finally acknowledged that I needed the help a fill can give me and saw my fill doc this week. I don't know why I waited so long, but I don't regret the brief glance of how I don't want to live my life. I have been dieting and having occasional binges. I have been living in the two ends of the spectrum that I knew before surgery. I did it because it was familiar and apparently because I'm not very quick on the uptake. I didn't realize what I was doing, but now I see things clearly.
So am I a different person? No, I'm still me with all my fabulous flaws. The "other" Amanda still lives within me. She will always be in me, but now she and my true self are learning to play nice and live in harmony.
How about you? Are YOU a different person?