The Hardest Breakup

The Hardest Breakup

There is much much more to bariatric surgery than just the physiological side of it and the effects that it has directly on your body. The mental side of preparation for surgery is huge and if you don’t have enough time or you don’t do enough work on the head stuff first, from when I’ve seen, its harder to comply with the post surgery guidelines. This, ultimately, is going to make it harder to reach your goal weight and if you do reach it will be harder to maintain long term.

One of the things I did, that was only possible because of the long lead up I had to surgery, was think lots about what I was letting go and giving up by choosing to have a gastric bypass. After any bariatric surgery there are things that even if you can tolerate you should stay away from.

Dumping syndrome is a very real concern for post-op gastric bypass patients and I knew there was a pretty good chance I would never be able to have things I quite enjoyed again. The ‘dumping’ is caused by the physical changes to your digestive tract and is unavoidable with your digestive tracts new route. It won’t affect all post-op gastric bypassers but it will affect some.

When looking at the relationship I had with food prior to surgery it was not the most healthy relationship you could imagine. I think we all have a vice or something we have an emotional relationship that we use when we want something to make us feel better for a variety of reasons. For me that was very much food and now I realise the extent to which I relied on it to comfort me emotionally, to celebrate with when I was happy, to make me feel better if I was sad or tired and pretty much any other excuse that would create a good enough excuse to eat something yummy.

After thinking about this prior to surgery and having had part of this realisation I decided what I needed to do was to breakup with food. In many ways my relationship with food could be seen as a dysfunctional relationship so this analogy seemed appropriate. Starting to make that mental separation prior to surgery meant that post-op when I couldn’t have something I would have previously loved or in celebration situations where I couldn’t join in with everyone else I actually wasn’t bothered by the fact I couldn’t partake.

I created, in my head, a food bucket list before I started the liquid diet that I was required to do for two weeks prior to surgery and had things I knew I was never going to eat again. I knew at this point I had really made peace with my decision and was ready to take on this next challenge because, you know what, I actually didn’t enjoy most of these things anywhere near as much as I thought I did.

Bariatric surgery whether gastric bypass or otherwise is not an easy road and is certainly not ‘the easy way out’. You need to do as much mental preparation beforehand and making peace with what you are letting go is a huge part of that. Let me know if you relate to any of this and if you did anything similar in the lead up to your surgery. If you are thinking of having surgery does this sound like something you would do? Let me know below I’d love to know how you tackled the mental side of getting ready for surgery.

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There are 12 comments for this article
  1. Elysia at 6:20 pm

    Yes I can completely understand and agree with this. I too ha a bucket list of things I just had to have and with my trip to the USA before my liquid diet I managed it. It was certainly a break up of huge emotional proportion. But at the end of the day if it means cake or health… I choose health ? thanks for sharing Melissa.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 6:26 pm

      I really think this is a great thing to do before surgery and I’m pleased you found it helpful to do it as well! Thank you for reading I appreciate it 😀

  2. Amanda at 8:52 am

    I have to say I never thought of a food break up as such bug it makes total sense. Thanks for posting I really enjoy reading about your journey.

  3. Nicola @ Eat Well NZ at 10:01 pm

    Great post Melissa 🙂 The emotional side of eating is huge, and you’re right, bariatric surgery isn’t simply an ‘easy way out’. It certainly helps people make big changes, but it’s not easy. I’m enjoying your blog 🙂

  4. Faiza at 2:17 pm

    Reading your blog has given me so much to think about but also provided me me with confirmation that my journey is as yours long and filled with our own ways. I remember getting my date two weeks before my operation…this is not long ago by the way but I remember going to the shop and buying all of my favourite SA snacks. It was a binge and in my own little world I felt embarrassed. Normally I would binge and feel bad but this time around I binged and felt satisfied not because of the normal reasons but because I said my last goodbyes. I imagine that even though I do not know you most of your journey will be very similar to my journey. I am just starting and can’t wait to see where I go from here. 🙂

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 7:38 pm

      Hello Faiza, it’s nice to hear from you. It’s nice to know that there’s someone out there who has walked a similar path to your own in some ways isn’t it.I’m glad you got that last opportunity. I’m glad to hear of your reaction to it because I think that’s a pretty good sign your head is in the right place and you are ready for what’s coming and that you have made peace with what you’re letting go of. You have so much to look forward to I can’t even begin to tell you!

  5. Carolyn at 8:37 pm

    Wow…Ok…..
    What does dumping mean?
    Such an interesting way to think about your food relationship. I am exactly like you were…I go to food for comfort.. Whether I am tired, sad, happy, excited….Etc…
    So…I need to break up with food….Gosh… This could work… Looking at food differently not like …Oh I shouldn’t be eating this to….. So long chocolate!!!

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 10:46 pm

      If you’re going through the posts one by one you’ll soon find the one I wrote that explains what dumping is. Breaking up with food is the best way I could articulate it but for me that’s exactly the kind of transition it felt like. You just can’t have that same emotional attachment to it anymore.

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