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Friday, March 16, 2012

Are you a different person?

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?

   

10 comments:

Tina @ The Bandit Girl said...

great post. I am pre-surgery, so I can't offer any personal experience yet. I identified with your description about the opposite ends of the spectrum and the part about eating the right things in the wrong proportion. In the beginning (when you were in "losing mode") did you find yourself cheating ever? Or was it pretty easy to make the right choices and harder to adjust the speed/volume of what you ate? I am just in that place where I want the surgery, but I HAVE to be successful. Last chance, ya know?

Dinnerland said...

I think I am me, only better... I agree: my problem was portion control (and also not having 'gray' areas of eating-- all or nothing is a big issue for me.) Anyhow: hope your fill is helpful and that's why we have bands, this help is there for us so you ought to be super proud of yourself. Go Amanda!

Tina said...

Yes!! you always nail these issues right on the head! I don't know if it is increased confidence, more energy, or just the simple act of placing a piece of plastic around my stomach but middle ground is now a greater part of my life in many areas.

xxxooo

Cat said...

I Commented back via email on your comment to me today. I'm not sure if you got it though because your email isn't listed, it just says no reply.

Anyway, I am still the same person mentally and emotionally but physically I am a completely new person. My mother didn't even recognize me on Thanksgiving. I am also now a person who has accepted (thanks Rboyn) that exercise must be a permanent part of my life now.

Such a a great topic. Thank you.

Vanessa said...

Great Post!!!!
I am not the same person I was pre op ~ I was an insecure binge eater that felt that I deserved nothing and no one. Today I am a strong woman ~ who is confident and kicks ass on the mountain bike and and running the trails. I have a new sense of hope and love for life ~ a freedom from the prison of my body and power of food. I can't begin to say just how much the band changed my life.
~ I could go on....

Holly from 300 Pounds Down said...

I really relate to this post so much. I have often felt like a split personality when it comes to this. You couldn't have said this any better!!!

Ronnie said...

I don't think I'm the same person, I'm with you... when I'm properly restricted I don't even feel the need to binge or even attempt my version of emotional eating. I just am, and I don't feel anxious around food. So freeing!

Maybe I am different, in that I'm not a slave to what I eat... hmm. Will have to consider this more.

MandaPanda said...

I think we become the people who have been hiding behind the fat. I think we're the same people we've always been, except we're not as afraid to let it show or we can't hide it anymore (depending on the good stuff and the bad stuff about ourselves.

Jennifer said...

I resonate completely with this post. The band has curbed binge eating, which was a huge issue for me. I would eat healthfully, even strictly, but would then binge for days at a time. The net result is that there was no weight loss and just the negative reinforcement of binging. Don't feel badly about getting a fill or thinking that you need one to lose the holiday pounds: the band is a tool and tools do us no good if we keep them in the shed.

Ben Murvi said...

I think we become a little bit different after surgery. It's serious step, it's not taking suppressant pills...