This article was originally posted over on Beauty Review in August…
Immediately after surgery and for about nine months after I was totally and utterly disinterested in food. I actually couldn’t have cared less and it was incredibly liberating. I no longer felt controlled by this thing that used to taunt me, tease me and use up so much space in my brain thinking about it all the time. I thought I had the key and I had suddenly overcome a lifetimes worth of bad habits. As time has gone on, and I am now more than 2.5 years out from surgery, I see now that it was a honeymoon period to a degree.
I was so focussed on doing the right thing and so scared of putting something in my body that wasn’t going to agree with me that I did everything as prescribed by my surgical team and there wasn’t a second thought about it. This lasted for about nine months after my gastric bypass surgery. As time went on and I started experimenting with things I knew I didn’t need to be eating, I found that I could tolerate most things (in much smaller amounts of course) and I relaxed my focus and some bad habits crept back in. Snacking became insidious and I have been working at getting myself back to a point where I don’t snack anymore for almost a year now.
Everything has changed in terms of my dietary needs and portion sizes but now, two and a half years out, I’m still trying to find the right balance to keep my weight at a stable point that I’m happy with. In some ways, and I have been feeling quite tortured over it, I feel like nothing has changed long-term in terms of wanting to snack all the time and it really sucks. It’s now back to being a conscious effort not to do it and while I’m motivated to win the battle it’s really hard to do the things I need to all the time to make sure that happens.
For so long after surgery the habits and behaviour I had around food were completely new and the fact I had had surgery was always at the front of my mind. I was hyper-aware all the time about what went in my mouth and this was a really good thing. I met my goal weight nine months after surgery and a lot of that can be credited to how well I stuck to the guidelines my surgical team gave me.
I’ve now got to the point where my perception of normal has been forever altered I think that’s what has led to some old bad habits sneaking back in. I’m comfortable with where I am in terms of making sure I get enough protein in and maybe I let things relax a little bit too much. The two-year anniversary of reaching my goal weight is coming up at the end of next month. I thought it would be a great idea to graph my weight from the first and second year to compare and see how it’s gone. It was horrifying for me to see.
I knew that my weight has been creeping up over the last year and I have done many things to try and reverse this trend. While it’s been bugging me a little bit I do still fit all my clothes, and some better than I did at my goal weight, so I haven’t been letting it worry me too much but seeing it go up and up is scary. While I eat quite well and eat what I should for my three meals each day, I have been trying to get my diet back to just the three meals a day with no snacks as recommended by my team. I’ve already broken quite a few bad habits (the level my chocolate consumption was getting to was not great) and I’ve made an incredible effort around food and exercise but my weight has kept going up.
I know that a little bit of weight regain is normal after any bariatric surgery but I absolutely refuse to let my weight go over 70 kilos again. The lowest point I got to was 62kg which for me was a bit low, I didn’t like how gaunt I looked at that weight. My goal weight was 65kg and I was happiest with my body at about 64kg. Now I’m hovering around 69kg and I just can’t take watching it go up anymore. I did not do this to not be a healthy weight for the rest of my life. I cannot deal with the thought of ending up back where I started.
How I’m going to tackle this is, get my diet totally back on track. Snacks are a no go zone and my meals are all high protein with veg and I will keep an eye on the amount of carbs. I am continuing to work on my current activity and exercise levels because I’m getting great results and progress from my running and I love it. I’m dropping my habit of daily weighing and I will only be weighing myself once a week. I have been weighing myself daily for a very long time but I don’t think it’s helpful anymore and I’ve been meaning to reduce the frequency for quite a while.
I will update you on how this has gone for me when I reach my two-year goal weight anniversary. If things have gone in the direction I want them to then clearly my diet was more off track than I thought and I need to keep searching to find the balance. If not, I know I’ve done everything by the books for two months and I will get in touch with my team to see if they have any other suggestions or if it could just my body finding it’s new set point. Either way I’m making that commitment to myself again, putting myself first and trying my absolute hardest to do the best for my body and my health.
It’s been hard for me to admit all of this here but the whole point of my blog is that it’s an honest reflection of life after gastric bypass surgery. There are bumps in the road and life after bariatric surgery is a continual learning curve. If I ever figure out the magic formula I’ll be sure to let you all know. If you’ve been struggling I hope this has helped you to see that you’re not the only one that is, let me know what you thought of this post and leave me a comment below.