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The 5 Most Dangerous Things Weight Loss Surgery Post-Ops Tell Themselves…

So one of the benefits of being your friendly neighborhood
blogger is that I speak to a LOT of you on a day-to-day basis. And I do
actually listen to what you are telling me. I’m that blogger who, when you
email me, I WILL email you back!
I thought I’d start tapping out some general thoughts about
my interactions with post-ops in hopes that those broad observations might help
you.
Today’s topic: the thin line between a healthy thought and
justification.
I titled this “The 5 Most Dangerous Things Weight Loss Surgery Post-Ops Tell Themselves.” And some of these will be controversial because some of these
statements are perfectly healthy statements — if, and ONLY if, you use them in
a healthy way. I’ve seen each of these used in a healthy way but I’ve also seen
them used in an unhealthy way enough to warrant this post.
So that is to say feel free to debate these in the comments.
I’m also that blogger who isn’t afraid to a) defend her point or b) admit she
is DEAD wrong!
Without further ado…
#1 – All Things in
Moderation
“What??? Nik, c’mon,
this is a healthy attitude!”
It is. But sometimes it isn’t. I spoke to one post-op a few
years back whose idea of “all things in moderation” was eating a bowl of ice
cream every day. BEFORE eating her protein or veggies. And this person was
afraid they would eventually gain weight from this behavior (so they emailed me
to shoot down that fear with a “no, no…it’ll all be fine” statement), but was
equally insistent that they were unwilling to “give up” anything in the name of
weight loss surgery. This is NOT what they’d signed up for and they wouldn’t do
it. Nope. Nuh-uh!
I’ve heard this many times. Here’s my official opinion: I
don’t think you should have to completely give up anything either! BUT (you
knew there was a but), many of us don’t come to this process automatically
knowing what moderation means and, further, what it means to us. For me, there
are foods that just cannot be moderated (peanut butter). If they are around
(peanut butter), I’m going to go bonkers (peanut butter). So I know that with
(peanut butter) those foods I must be a bit more vigilant. It’s not an all
things in moderation as much as an “all things in consideration.”
#2 – How bad would it
be if I ate/drank _______?
Yeah, if you’re asking that question, you already KNOW you
probably shouldn’t do it. And it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with the stats
on the food. It has to do with YOU.
Again, if a food is one you can’t control, admit it. You may
never act on that admission but at least you’ve taken the first step toward a
healthier attitude.
#3 – “I’ll never eat
X/Y/Z again!”
Yes you will. Eventually. And I’m not trying to mock you.
But chances are you will. And by saying the above, you’re actually setting up a
pass/fail mentality that makes you feel like you did wrong by eating X/Y/Z.
Now I know I flagged the moderation thing in #1 but if you
are living a life of moderation you have to accept that sometimes a
cookie/potato chip/cupcake will happen. (Stop shaking your heads so hard,
newbies, you’re gonna get whiplash!)
I’m not condemning or condoning unhealthy food choices, but
very, very, VERY few post-ops are 100% compliant 100% of the time. So what do
you do?
If you ate a cookie/potato chip/cupcake, don’t freak out! Move
on. I know some post-ops who actually PLAN indulgences. They lower their
carbs/fat/whatever for the rest of the day and enjoy a reasonable portion of
what they want guilt-free! How about that!
Bottom line: Unless you have a crystal ball and titanium
will power, you might want to say that you’re not planning to eat X/Y/Z in the near future. That scenario saves you
just a bit of self-bashing if you happen to succumb to a craving.
#4 – “Just one more
bite…”
Beware the Ides of March, Foodies! Those are famous last
words. That bite took three seconds to take and three HOURS to come back up,
didn’t it???
Most of us can tell when our last bite should be our last
bite. I’ve spoken to enough post-ops who get the hiccups, or a runny nose, or
burp or SOMETHING to know that most of us have cues. You just need to know
yours. And if you don’t know yours you need to consider eating a little bit
more slowly so that you can give your body time to react. Sometimes it takes
the fullness signals a minute to get to where they need to be.
But here’s the REAL destructive power in that statement in
my little opinion. For some of us (not all of us) but for some of us, that last
bite will drive us friggin’ NUTS if we don’t get rid of it somehow. We gotta
destroy it or throw it away or pour salt over it or just make it disappear. We
could blame our mothers for this but it’s truly our issue. So that “just one
more bite” becomes the justification to just get it out of our face. I
experience this a lot. This is why I am grateful for my dog.

#5 – “I don’t count
[calories/carbs/protein]. I just eat well.”
Yeaaaaah. I like this one. Because from my perspective a lot
of us start out eating good stuff. But then we add stuff to the stuff (we’re
playing with our food, after all!) and so in our heads it’s all still above
board. It’s all still healthy? I just added some peanut butter. Peanut butter
has protein, right???
I stress the importance of knowing what you eat because the
human brain is a master manipulator. There is a reason humans run the world and
not elephants! We can convince ourselves of nearly anything. But data doesn’t
lie.
So if you are a die-hard “I hate tracking my food” kind of
person, consider doing a sample week every few weeks. If you never tracked at
all, you should start, ESPECIALLY if you are stalled or have regained. You can’t
know what to fix unless you know…what to fix.
And there you have it. My five most dangerous things we
post-ops tell ourselves. Again, not all of these are completely unhealthy
statements. And only YOU know if you say these things to yourself from a place
of good or bad decision making.
But I’m putting it out there. Because it needs to be
discussed. So discuss it!

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11 comments

  1. I am a newbie (3 weeks post-op) so obviously have ZERO practical experience with any of these … except #5. When I went in for instructions for my pre-op diet, the woman who was giving the presentation (there were 4 of us there) specifically said, "YOU WILL NO LONGER HAVE TO COUNT CALORIES". I gasped … and then said that I know that tracking my food works for me and there is NO WAY I intend to stop.

  2. All of this is well worth saying. I have said just about every one of these things to myself. Peanut butter and Redi whip are my additicions and I just should not have them in the house. I set myself up for failure every time.

  3. This post is perfect timing for what is going on with me at the moment and puts alot of what I'm saying in my head/feeling into perspective.
    Thanks!

  4. Love this. I'm a newbie, almost 4 months out. I track my food every day although I did miss a few days on a weekend or two. So far I haven't really counted calories except for a few days. Wow, if I pray for anything regarding my eating, it's that titanium will! It just seems almost human to justify a bite here and there until our eating slides into oblivion. It sounds like a bit of "food fear" is healthy.

  5. I agree with your top 5 especially considering they are the top 5 food-related comments.

    I think there are some dangerous scale-related comments too. Some people put their scale away because they don't want to be a slave to the numbers, but I am a total denial kind of person. I have to make myself get on the scale to make sure I really am on the right track. Out of sight for me is out of mind.

    The comment by people who signed up for WLS so they wouldn't have to diet the rest of their life always worries me. It is like they are setting themselves up for failure. I used my WLS as a restart and a chance to learn better habits, which includes being mindful about my food choices. I don't want to be deprived, but I didn't do this so I can eat a bowl of ice cream daily either.

  6. Linda,

    Great points! Yes, I mostly get food comments so that's what I highlighted but it's so true. The scale is a tool. But just as I think it's an important tool I find that many post-ops use it as the SOLE narrator of their story and I don't like that either. It's ONE measure of how you are doing. There are many, many others!

    I say that because for me, I let the scale tell my story for a long time. My low weight was 172. And I thought I was a failure. But consider this. I was 172 and wore a size 6 (don't ask me cuz I couldn't tell you!). I had muscles. I was lean and very, very fit. (Well I'm still very fit just not AS lean as I used to be!)

    So by letting the scale be the sole narrator of my story I robbed myself in a way. I didn't enjoy that time. If I could do anything differently I would have embraced my progress and had fun with it!

  7. 4 weeks pre-op. God, grant me the strength to remember this wisdom when I'm emotional and struggling. I'm so prepared at this moment, and I can nod my head to every line–but I know there will be walls I hit and it will be tempting to take one more bite, stop counting or worse.

  8. I agree with Linda's comments on the scale! Luckily I listened to Nik at the beginning of my Journey and have a healthy relationship with my scale. That's not to say I love it! But it's another useful tool in my house. The way my clothes fit is my first gauge. I wear jeans most of the time now and just a half lb gain is noticeable…but so is a loss! Still, I get on the scale every Monday morning.

    Another dangerous thing to tell yourself is "Just once won't hurt!" That's how I got to over 350lbs! YES, that just once will turn into another when the scale doesn't immediately show the impact. Then another and another until now you have a new 'old' habit to deal with. I do have something specific in mind. For me it's Sonic Popcorn Chicken. Luckily I've never gone back to diet carbonated drinks so it's a bit easier to avoid the fast food stop. It took my car a long time to learn not to turn into that lot!

  9. I agree with your points, and this is what I will link to the people I know who failed their new year's resolution about living healthier and loose some weight. It is with this as with any other life style – you need to take it in small steps or you will fall back into habbits. Great points!

  10. Thank you for this very thought provoking post. My VSG surgery is scheduled for May 20th, so I'm soaking up as much information as I can about what life will be like post-op.

  11. nice blog,this blog provides me a lot of details about weight loss surgery, weight loss with the help of surgery works sometimes good and in some cases excellent results are produced….i have studied about weight loss surgery from somewhere else also.. suggested reading weight loss surgeries