One of the biggest worries I had in the lead…
If you hadn’t already guessed I love to talk. One of the things I really enjoy talking about is my gastric bypass and the journey I’ve been through to all sorts of different people because I gain so much perspective and learn new things from talking to a range of people about it.
I recently got a message to my Melissa Loses It Facebook page that really made me step back and think. The message went something like this, “I know you can’t eat a lot of bad stuff but how do you get past the overwhelming cravings and voice in your head and can’t think about anything else? Just because you had an op doesn’t mean that the head cravings go away.” This is something I had forgotten had changed for me until I got this message.
Before my gastric bypass and basically as long as I can remember I always had a very healthy appetite and while I wouldn’t say an overwhelming desire to eat all the time there were certainly days that I would explain it exactly as that. I always had food on the brain and always made sure I ate enough if I wasn’t going to be able to eat for a while or made sure I made up for it later if I missed a meal.When I say made sure I ate ‘enough’ or ‘made up for it’ I know now that I was overeating anyway and the whole notion I had of ‘enough’ or ‘making up for it’ were a bit off.
I think at the time a lot of this felt like it was a physical or biological drive to eat and sometimes the cravings were overwhelming. This would be compounded on days when things weren’t going right, if I was tired for example, also I used food as a coping mechanism and to comfort myself. I do think obesity is a very complex issue and while I’m sure these factors contributed to my morbid obesity I don’t think they were the be all and end all of my weight problem.
I had figured out before surgery that mentally this whole process was going to be a rough ride. Once I had decided I wanted a gastric bypass I had to make peace with how my lifestyle was going to be affected. I started working on the head stuff beforehand and while I think I was in a really good place mentally for my surgery it’s still something that I have to continue to work on every day.
I don’t have the biological desire to eat and eat lots anymore. I think having the physical hunger taken away makes it so much easier to recognize when I actually just need water or if my cravings are coming from a place of me being emotional or tired. Being able to recognize this distinction is part of what’s helping me now after surgery. You can’t have the same reliance on food after any kind of bariatric surgery because if you push it and eat things you shouldn’t it will cause you problems and/or pain and you will probably end up overweight (if not morbidly obese) again.
The voice in my head has about 98% of the time been well and truly muted. I also know now that if I’m fixated on something I have to purposely think about something else or distract myself and that the craving will pass. I have come up with ways of dealing with this when it happens now and because I don’t have the same physiological structure now it’s much more easily forgotten.
It is very true that having the operation doesn’t fix your head and that cannot be overstated enough. With a combination of starting to work through your head issues beforehand, being introspective and aware of your behavior and responses after surgery and continuing to work on the head stuff as time goes on means that the voice and the head cravings basically go away.
Have you found the voice in your head and your head hunger has been impacted by your surgery? Did you do lots of work in your head before surgery and do you still have to keep it up after? Comment below I’d love to know how you’ve found this aspect of bariatric surgery.