Beginning Again - Seeking Encouragement and Support
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Here I am again .... it's been more than two years since I took my Spark page down and deleted all my blogs. Insert sad face here. I'm a therapist and a client had found my page. But here I am again, seeking encouragement and support.
Of course there's a long story that leads up to this point. But the relevant part is I had gastric bypass surgery last week. About a year ago, I exceeded 300 pounds on the scale for the first time. I couldn't tie my shoes, getting dressed took all my energy and my knees were giving out -- literally. Determined to change the trajectory, I started thinking about "the ultimate" solution -- surgery.
In September 2015, I sent in my pre-screening application. I had my orientation in October and then began months of evaluations, additional medical tests and numerous delays. I finally had my surgery on July 11. Despite my impatience, it was a good process. Through it I learned that surgery is NOT the "ultimate" solution. It is a tool and it is the "easy" part. The difficult part is changing how I think about and relate to food over the next 30 years or so. And that's where I am today.
I've had remarkably few side effects so far (knock on wood) -- none of the nausea, vomiting, gastric dumping. Instead, I've had to rely on recognizing signs of feeling hungry and full. I probably haven't listened for or attended to those feelings in years. When you're chronically full, you don't feel hunger or satiaty. In the 12 days since surgery, I've done fairly well, except for two days.
Yesterday was one of those days when I ate too much. I still have a bellyache this morning as a result. It wasn't that I didn't feel the fullness in my tiny stomach. It was that I didn't listen to what I felt. I wanted the food so I ate it. Moreover, I felt entitled to eat it because the doctor said I could have five small meals a day. He also said to space the meals out over the course of the day, which I didn't do. I was busy during the day. I left three of my five meals until the evening. So it's not that I ate too much per se. I ate too much in a short span of time.
So my first goals are to:
~ learn to recognize the feeling of hunger and fullness
~ plan my meals so that I have time to feel hungry in between
~ stop when I begin to start feeling full
Everyone we talked to about the surgery said the hardest part was the "mental adjustments" after the surgery. I went to a restaurant for the first time this week. I wasn't particularly hungry. I had looked at the menu before going and knew I could eat the soup. I took my baby-size soup bowl and toddler spoon with me so I would get the portions right. I did everything right. Despite all that, I was totally unprepared for the smells wafting through the dining room and the colors and textures of perfectly plated food. My mouth watered for the complex flavors. I was in Aladdin's treasure chest and couldn't touch or taste the riches. I felt deprived, not that I couldn't have it all that night but that I would never be able to eat like that again. Thankfully, we were with dear friends whose conversation and laughter distracted me from the limits of my lifestyle change.
Goal is to ...
~ be in the moment as much as possible, especially in restaurants
In that moment at the Lebanese restaurant, I was doing it. I was eating healthy, enjoying the lentil soup with its complex layering of flavors. I savored each bite. If my mind had stopped there, all would have been well. But it didn't. It wanted more.
Goal is to ...
~ accept and appreciate what is
I have so many other goals -- perhaps they are more habits than goals -- I can't write them all now. So to be continued.
may you groove with the dance of life