Total Pageviews

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Keep It Real

If you know me, you know that I spend a lot of time online.  Recently on one board I belong to, there was a bit of a discussion about the aspect of "Keeping it real".  Someone started another board entitled that name for those that didn't want to be coddled about some of their decisions post op.

Here's the thing:  I'm a big believe in keeping it real (and see the discussion below that follows for what I believe in regards to that) but I'm also a big believer that there are many wls patients that completely struggle due to the head issues, the mental aspects of surgery and the fact that they are trying to overcome an addiction.  It is well documented that wls patients often have a mental health issue.  Some are dealing with depression, bipolar, and various issues.  Not all of us are though.

Previous to surgery, I have not had any detected mental health issues.  No history of depression or anything like that throughout my life.  But now that I am long term post op, I can see how much of an addiction I have to food and how I use it to cope, to distract, to deal with stress and well, just to get pleasure from.  I still have my FAT HEAD.  I'm now realizing that I'm every bit an addict.  I am a binge eater and I didn't even label that before surgery.  I just thought I "liked food" too much.   So I understand how when we deal with patients who are failing that we also have to consider that they may have some mental health issues.  Sometimes we have to have compassion and not just attack people for their food choices.   So I try when someone is failing to encourage them to pick themselves back up right away, to get back on track asap and to seek mental health resources if they are struggling.

But we also have to KEEP IT REAL and by that I mean we have to acknowledge what is written in our plans, our diet given from our surgical centres and we need to try to adhere to them especially in the first year or two of the "magic window" of loss.  So we also NEED to have the frank discussions about things like 100 calorie snack packs, cookies, chips etc. not being a regular part of our diet.  Often new post op people are running out to buy "protein chips", "protein cookies" etc and well, protein bars. I have not seen these in Ontario's Bariatric centre instructions.  They are still crap plus protein. Processed foods.  

I hope that every centre will start to push this more as well as a rule about how many sugars.  I see many people that seem to have the understanding that rules for sugar only apply to avoid dumping.   That's so not true.   I have seen a new post op eating Clif Builder bars that have something like 20 grams of sugar!!  Seriously, sugar is the enemy.  If you are eating highly sugary things at two months out, what will you be craving in the next 6 months?  I find that scary.  Really scary.

Programs need to push the fact that people need to be eating natural, wholesome food and avoiding processed foods at all costs to maximize loss.  Even though it says this in their plans, I think they need to directly say "avoid this and this" because people seem to run out for sugar free this and sugar free that and have the understanding that because the chocolate bar is sugar free - it's "on their plan".  Egads.  It's very easy over time to start to rationalize foods we shouldn't be eating.  If you get too hooked on sugar now, what will you be eating later?  Get it out.  Trick your senses into getting sweet from fruit.  Avoid the processed stuff as much and maximize your loss.  Once you open Pandora's box of sugar, it's very hard to close it.  I struggle with it daily at 7 years out and I did not venture off course much at all early out.  I didn't buy any bariatric foods.  I ate all regular food - lots of veggies, chicken and fish.  Boatloads.  But now I can get so obsessed with carbs and sugars.   They make me feel like crap but I still crave them.  Sugar is the bane of my existence.  I feel like a crack addict when it comes to sugar.

I hate the bariatric food industry.  I think there are waaay too many people sucked into products they don't need.  Factory produced food that's fake but given a label of "bariatric" so it must be okay.  Whole food is so much better for you.  I hate that something like 80% of new products marketed are simple carbohydrates, crackers, cookies, etc.  It is frustrating as heck.  Sugar is highly addictive.  I know.  I am an addict.

The problem is that after a long time out, we get to be so good at not keeping it real with our selves.  We become experts at justifying our food choices even when they are way out of whack with what we should be eating.  When we start making poor choices, it is easy to spiral and make other poor choices.  The key is to pick yourself up back right away and get back on track.  As you can tell, I'm doing this right now and feel very powerless over food.   Again, I have to keep myself real too.  

If you can have a friend to help you keep it real throughout your journey, that's a good thing.  I think those that keep it real will be survivors.  I worry for those who get really good at kidding themselves.  Your thoughts?


  1. Great Post Dawn. Thank you. Food for thought.

  2. As a pre-op, I found this post very informative. Thank you!