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I did a lot of work sorting out my head issues before my gastric bypass. I guess somewhere deep down inside I knew that the surgery and resulting physical change itself was not going to be enough and that there was a huge mental component that would make up my ultimate success or failure. One thing I have learnt through this process is how important mindfulness is and how it is absolutely essential for my continued success in maintaining my goal weight.
I think part of the reason I got so overweight in the first place was because I would weigh myself, not like the number and then stick my head in the sand for a few months. Then of course over those few months my weight would creep up a bit more, I would finally get around to weighing myself again, still not like the number because it usually had gone up and the cycle would repeat itself.
I still weigh myself everyday (though I only note it down once a week) and I think this is part of the reason why I can’t let go of doing it everyday. I don’t want to get to the point where I’m sticking my head in the sand and letting things get out of hand again. This plays into being mindful because if I actively make myself aware of where I am everyday it is really helpful in making sure I continue to be successful at maintaining my 70 kg loss.
The mindfulness works in a few different ways. First I need to be mindful of exactly what I am eating and making sure I meet my basic needs in terms of nutrition and protein goals everyday. I need to be especially mindful of my behaviour around food and how that is impacted in terms of making the right choices when it comes to the fuel my body needs.
I need to be mindful of the amount of exercise I’m doing and not letting that slide. I need to be mindful to put myself first when its necessary, as a mum to a toddler it’s very easy to put yourself last and let everyone else’s needs come before your own. I need to be mindful of how far I’ve come and how important my health is to me.
Part of being mindful is being introspective, really aware of and totally honest with yourself about your behaviour and what you may need to change or improve. What complicates the supposed ‘easy’ ride that many people think this surgery gives us in terms of losing weight is the hard mental battle you still have to fight for the rest of your life.
The emotional and mental part of this is really hard and just because you have a tiny tummy doesn’t change the fact that some days you just want to comfort eat or eat lots of chocolate because you’ve had a hard day. Again, being mindful comes in being able to recognise that food doesn’t fix feelings and that yes you can eat that chocolate bar but actually at the end of the day it’s not actually going to make you feel any better. In fact, as a post bypass patient you could make yourself feel worse if it leads to a dumping episode.
Mindfulness is essentially being honest with yourself every day and keeping yourself in check. This is to your own benefit in the long run and yes it does get hard sometimes but it is, as I have figured out, a really huge part of keeping you focussed and on the right track in looking after yourself. I’ve termed it ‘Mindful Introspection’ because it’s a thing I do frequently so it deserves a name in my opinion.
Can you relate to this? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to know how you see mindfulness fits into being successful in weight management or other areas of your life.