The honeymoon period is well and truly over

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.

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

    Am struggling also. I am just over 4 years post op and my weight has been creeping. Started at 146 got down to 81. Swore I wouldn’t hit 90 again. I’m 99. I snack constantly and don’t know how to stop. I have now stopped chocolate and lollies for the past 10 days but I’m sitting here now debating going for an ice cream. Don’t know how to get my mindset back in the game and my gym membership is sitting unused as the bigger I get the less motivation I have. Really hope u have success with resetting yr eating habits. Any tips appreciated.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 6:18 pm

      I’m sorry to hear things haven’t gone to plan for you Andrea. I find making small changes incrementally is the most helpful. If I try and change too much at once I can’t do it. Pick one thing to change each week or fortnight and when you feel like the change has been made and it’s become your norm make another one. I’m gradually getting better and better but once your back in the habit of snacking it’s so freaking hard to break isn’t it. Instead of taking them away completely to begin with maybe you could swap it for something healthier and then wean yourself off snacking altogether. The best strategy I’ve found is just not having anything I like snacking on around. If it’s not there I can’t be bothered hunting it down so I don’t tend to snack. It might be a good idea to speak to your dietician or a dietician again just to see what they think could be done to get you back on track. Good luck, the mind games are real and the more aware of them we are the easier they are to beat.

      • Andrea at 8:03 pm

        Yeah last week I gave up choc n lollies n processed sugar type things. But to so that I’ve been eating bliss balls which is ok. Much healthier but still calorific unfortunately. This week I’m trying to have smaller portions for 3 meals a day but still my snacks. Next week I’m going to add in exercise and week after il try and drop a snack. Small steps.

  2. Merrill at 7:07 pm

    Hi Melissa, thanks for a great honest blog, you are an inspiration to me. I had my surgery 3.5 months ago and have lost 26kgs so far, I am still very much on track but some days sneak a few potato chips!!!! I have wondered and worried about what happens when I meet my goal weight only 12kgs away now if I’ll subconsciously start to challenge what I can and can’t eat! I guess the fact I have a massive pile of clothes that i no longer fit will keep me on track. Buying my first size 14 jeans was very exciting. Keep up the good work, being aware and honest with yourself and your followers on here is great for keeping accountable.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 7:14 pm

      Hi Merrill, congratulations on your progress you have done an amazing job so far. My best advice is not to try and challenge it and keep away from things you shouldn’t have for as long as humanely possible, preferably forever! Once you find out you can tolerate things, albeit in much smaller portions, it can be hard to fight. You’re better off not knowing and assuming the worst will happen. Keep your goal weight in mind and in sight and you will be there before you know it. I plan on staying honest Merrill, denying and ignoring things is a large part of how I came to be morbidly obese and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that lesson. Thank you for reading my blog, I appreciate it so much more than you know xx

  3. Nerida at 2:51 pm

    Hi Melissa – thanks for your honesty. It’s good to know that we all struggle. Just because we’ve reached goal weight doesn’t mean the journey is over or that our unhealthy ways of coping have disappeared over night. I think for me, its always going to be a lifelong struggle and one I’ve been battling a lot lately. I started “replacing” a meal with junk and know that its not good. Your honesty is a great wake up call. I know you can do this – you’ve been such a support and inspiration to me. I think incremental changes is a good thing. Cutting out too much at once never seems to work for me.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 8:57 pm

      Thank you for appreciating it Nerida! It’s definitely something we are never done with and we need to make peace with the fact we will always have to look after ourselves in that way. That’s important to know what works for you, if you do the things that you know work you will get there!

  4. Nigel Pearson at 1:50 pm

    Good on you Melissa!
    Well I am 10 months out and I am snacking to try and get more protein into my body. I have to admit some of the snacking is not pure protein, so I guess it can easily turn into a slippery slope from what I read here of ice-cream, chocolate and potato chips. It’s true that after my sleeve surgery I feel I can almost eat anything without it upsetting the scales – just have to be mindful of what my tummy will take….But I do like the advice about weaning myself off the snacks …especially any unhealthy ones. Temptation is all around me….and some people insist I ought to eat more to put weight on!

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