Posted tagged ‘bariatric’

I Want to Stop Wanting

May 20, 2013

In recognition of my carb addiction I am now attacking it with a different approach, perhaps it is genetically manipulated wheat and wheat gluten which is ubiquitous in all things delicious which makes my craving heart beat faster.  I am experimenting on myself by eliminating wheat and wheat gluten for about a month to see if I notice a difference.

While shopping with my kids, getting them some pretzels in the gluten free aisle (which cost almost $6) they asked why the healthy stuff cost so much.

I told them that processed foods can be made cheaply.  They taste good but they don’t stay with you.  I have had my share of Fritos.  The first one is always glorious but the 20th, not so much.

You may find this article enlightening.  General Mills apparently said to make healthier food it would cost the company over $500 billion a year.  However, to live as an obese person, it costs roughly $8,000 a year.  And more than 80% of America is obese.  No wonder healthcare costs continue to rise.  So many diseases can be controlled or eliminated by maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.

For some time I’ve known that your more basic and healthiest foods are on the outside aisles of the grocery store.  The sneaky good stuff that has to tell you it’s healthy is on the interior aisles.

My kids are almost out of school for the summer.  I don’t want to give them a legacy of poor choices.  I don’t want them to ruled by their stomachs as they nosh their way into adulthood.  They are not going to be very happy with me.

But I’m not very happy with me.  I want to stop wanting.  I wish the food industry would help me on that but I think I have to go it alone.


Getting It Done

October 28, 2012

You know how people say that a person will do whatever, quit smoking, lose weight, straighten up, when they’re ready?  Of course, if you’ve read this blog at all, you already know I’ve lost a great deal of weight.  But this past year has not been as kind to me due to illness.  I’m all better now.  However, my waistline isn’t quite back to where it used to be.  And, even though I’m ten years out from bariatric surgery, I had slipped in my eating habits.

And then.  One day.  I changed.

Perhaps it was the threat of national television cameras.  Perhaps it was the loss of my favorite jeans.  Perhaps it was just time.  

I got back to basics.  What do I eat?  Exactly what a bariatric patient should.  I eat a reasonable amount of lean protein.  I eat some vegetables.  I don’t consume sugar unless it’s in fruit.  I’m all into sugar free, fat free plain Greek yogurt flavored with Mio.  I don’t eat anything with flour in it.  For the most part.  I will use bread crumbs sparingly to make turkey meatloaf or burgers.  But no buns, no sandwiches, no taco shells, no chips.  I don’t eat anything fried either.

And you know what?  The first week almost killed me.  I’ve walked this road before.  It’s easier when you’re fresh out of surgery.  In a way.  See I know I can eat such things without being ill.  I also know I shouldn’t eat such things.  That, I believe, makes it harder.

My surgeon, Dr. Doug Olsen at Centennial in Nashville once said something alone the lines of: Many people who get this surgery think they will be able to eat like “normal people” and be thin.  You see someone in great shape, they’ve worked at it.  “Normal people” don’t eat just whatever they want.  Bariatric patients can’t either.

He’s right of course, but who wants to hear that?  No one.  That’s why America is oh so obese.  We all know what to do.  We have our addictions.  And we like them.

I am specifically a carbohydrate addict.  And recently I survived the ultimate test.  For me anyway.  I was in a Mexican restaurant.  And there I was, with warm, delicious tortilla chips in front of me.  And I didn’t eat them.  Oh sure, laugh.  But it was a big deal for me.  I was seriously thinking of not going to that restaurant just because of the chips.  I didn’t know if I could handle it, 

As it turns out, I could.  After almost three weeks of virtually no sugar, no flour, no potatoes, I am free of them.  I just don’t want them.  Do I still want pizza?  In theory, yes,  But I’d rather have the cheese.  I’m not rationalizing.–I’ll have it because today is whatever day.  I remove croutons from salads.  If my kids don’t finish their ice cream I, wait for it, throw it out.  Yeah, I don’t finish it for them.  

I’ve lost three pounds in almost three weeks.  That annoys me to no end.  That’s the same weight loss rate of a “normal person.”  My Vulcan physiology should’ve lost ten by now.  It hasn’t.  But it will.  

When it’s time.



May 11, 2012

I am a fixer.  If it’s broken, I fix it.  If I’m sick, I get a doctor to fix it.  Everything can be fixed.  That’s how I approach life.  When my weight was out of control ten years ago I had bariatric surgery and fixed it.  Today I am a healthy weight and no I’m not going to share.  Because that’s not the point.  Even though I have had surgery, I still battle with an overwhelming desire to eat food that calls to me.  I have been told by three different doctors that I have an addiction to food, specifically to carbohydrates.  I have been told that I should steer clear of carbs just like a recovering alcoholic avoids liquor.  And yet, knowing that, just made my desire worse.

Who doesn’t overeat the night before their alleged diet begins?  You have to cram it all in because you’ll never have it again.  But you see, you do have it again.  Eventually.  And the cycle begins anew.  What surprises me is with all this talk of addiction no one, until recently, suggested I read any material from Alcoholics Anonymous.  Perhaps because I do not have an addiction to alcohol.  Perhaps that’s why the obvious was consistently overlooked by my physicians and by me.  Addiction is addiction.  It just takes a different delivery system for different people.

And so I was turned on to the AA paragraph on acceptance.  Here it is:  “It’s from Page 449 (first 3 editions, pg. 417 in the 4th edition) of Alcoholics Anonymous or The Big Book as it is widely known:

      And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

For me, serenity began when I learned to distinguish between those things that I could change and those I could not. When I admitted that there were people, places, things, and situations over which I was totally powerless, those things began to lose their power over me. I learned that everyone has the right to make their own mistakes, and learn from them, without my interference, judgement, or assistance!

The key to my serenity is acceptance. But “acceptance” does not mean that I have to like it, condone it, or even ignore it. What it does mean is I am powerless to do anything about it… and I have to accept that fact.

Nor does it mean that I have to accept “unacceptable behavoir.” Today I have choices. I no longer have to accept abuse in any form. I can choose to walk away, even if it means stepping out into the unknown. I no longer have to fear “change” or the unknown. I can merely accept it as part of the journey.

I spent years trying to change things in my life over which I was powerless, but did not know it. I threatened, scolded, manipulated, coerced, pleaded, begged, pouted, bribed and generally tried everything I could to make the situation better — only watch as things always got progressively worse.

I spent so much time trying to change the things I could not change, it never once occurred to me to simply accept them as they were.

Now when things in my life are not going the way I planned them, or downright bad things happen, I can remind myself that whatever is going on is not happening by accident. There’s a reason for it and it is not always meant for me to know what that reason is.

That change in attitude has been the key to happiness for me. I know I am not the only who has found that serenity.”

You don’t have to be an alcoholic, or even believe in God, to get what these sentences mean.  For me it was a classic a-ha moment.  Because I am a fixer, I was always trying to change things.  Always.  I have spent the last ten years trying to cure myself of an overwhelming desire for food.  A desire that only a true addict can understand.  It eats away at the inside of you.  You know if you just have that one thing, everything else will be better.  Until you do have it, and then the remorse sets in.  Remorse is a bitch.

So what am I doing to change things since I have seen the light of these few lines from AA’s Big Book?  I’ve realized I will always be addicted to these foods.  That’s not going to stop.  It is just one more bit of guidance to help me think why am I eating whatever it is I am eating.  For a bariatric patient, the path is quite clear.  Eat your protein first and get 60 grams of protein in every day–at the very minimum.  I don’t have to wonder if I should eat a pretzel or a bite of hot, delicious, buttery roll.  I shouldn’t.  Ever.  Not even on my birthday.  Not.  Ever.  No good will come of it.

By reading the paragraphs on acceptance it reminds me that even though I will always be a food addict, I do have the power to control myself.  I do not have to give in to emotional eating.  I just don’t.  The emotions will pass.  I don’t have to ruin my health by stress-eating.  Or boredom-eating.  Or it’s-delicious eating.  I can control it.

It puts the power back in my hands.  Accept there is a desire and choose not to give in.  Accept that desire will never disappear, but its hold upon you should lessen over time.  Accept that you can change if you want to.  Accept that you’re not broken.  Accept that an entire bowl of popcorn will not make you happy.  Ever.  That’s a whole lot of acceptance to take in at once.  I know.  But it’s a start.