Weight Loss

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I'm an angry bastard!

Alright. I've been thinking seriously about this WLS thing for about a year now. It takes me a long time to work myself up to big decisions like this, which is fine. Once I decided that it really was a logical choice for me, which was last fall, this thing has really gained momentum as I've gone through all the presurgical workup and done a lot of reading and generally prepared myself for this massive change. This year, as I've mentally prepared to have surgery in a couple of months (or possibly even sooner) I've really worked on starting to make some of the changes needed to be successful. I'm facing the reality that I have an unhealthy attraction to sweets and that I need to be more limited in what I eat than most people do. After all, my normal diet, when left to my own devices, is not really much different than that of normal-weight people. People who know me well and see me eat can attest to that. Yet I consistently gain weight, even with a fairly active lifestyle that includes regular aerobic and weight training exercise. So, all the well intentioned advice I get from my PCP and other folks about portion control, exercise, limiting snacks, all the "little things" that often work for obese people, don't do a thing for me because I already do them all.

This period of time before surgery, I have considered as a bit of a holiday. It's borrowed time that I get to use to do two things:
1. Learn new eating ideas and habits,
2. Say goodbye to old ways and old foods.

This has been going well until the last couple days. Suddenly, I'm angry that I have to deal with this. Why can't I eat in front of the TV, dammit? Can I really say goodbye to sugary treats? And I don't want to vomit at all! So, to try to understand better why I'm feeling this way, I turn to the web and other WLS patients' blogs to see if they went through similar things. Well, yeah, they did, but most of those blogs are by people who had over 200 lbs to lose. I admire the hell out of them, but I can't relate. If I do not have surgery, I will remain obese and probably gradually gain more and more weight, but I will have fewer health consequences than most people because my family genetics are exceptionally healthy. My total cholesterol is lower than most people's LDLs. My heart is strong and responsive, and while there is heart disease on my mom's side, I seem to be like my dad's side, which has no history of heart or pulmonary problems. In fact, looking at the numbers, I probably have a better heart than my mom did at my age, and she was 120 lbs. (She's even less now.) It doesn't seem like I'll keel over dead in 10 years without WLS. My quality of life will just suck because I'm just getting fatter. If I have my father to look to as an example, my health will be great despite my weight for a long time, then things will sort of start to give out all at once. He will be 63 this year, and he can barely walk, between his bad hip and his bad knees. So I'm not looking at WLS as something that will save my life, just something that will improve its quality greatly.

I can look at other people's blogs to my heart's content, but it won't tell me what I really want to know: is this right for me? I have between 50-85 lbs to lose, depending on how you figure it and whom you ask. I think 70 is a reasonable number. Given how my body hoards fat, will I lose weight quickly like most people do, or will it be slower for me, especially since I have less to lose overall? Will it be easy to regain the weight? Is all of this worth losing only 50 lbs, if that's all I could lose? I don't know. Last week I would have said yes, without a doubt. Today I am angry about it all. I'll just keep working on my brain and my eating habits while I wait to hear from the surgeon's office.

Of course, some of my anger today may be over the prospect of losing one of my stress coping strategies: emotional eating. My husband has been away for the last 2 days on a business trip, and I miss him. I've been bored and lonely without him here on my days off from work, and while I have made good use of my time and I generally value my alone time, I am more aware than usual of the desire to eat when I feel lonely or bored or sad. So by the end of the week, when he's back home, maybe I won't be so angry. That would be good...but it illustrates nicely that I have more to work on than I previously thought.

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