I was reading this great post by Pasta Queen and thinking about how the desire to emotionally eat, or binge, was different between now and the last time I lost weight, on Weight Watchers. The urge, and the response to the urge, is different now than it was before I had surgery. How is it different?
For one thing, I am older now and more experienced in losing and gaining and losing weight now than I was back then. I was experienced then, but I did learn a lot through my WW experience. So one thing has to be simple experience.
But the rest is a little nebulous. I think just the constant reminder that I HAD SURGERY and that I am succeeding so much more this time than ever before has an impact. A "binge" now (and they rarely happen) is so much smaller than before, it seems managable to me. I never have gotten that totally out of control feeling that I could get in the past, since my surgery. My mental dialogue seems to help me more than it used to: that figuring out if I'm physically hungry or emotionally hungry, deciding what would really help my current emotional state, etc. Doesn't work every time, but usually. And I think I'm just fed up and weary of the never-ending cycle that emotional eating becomes. It makes me feel worse, not better. It begets more emotional eating. It doesn't do anything about the original feelings or problem.
In other words, I think this is more a function of where I am in my life, than it is a function of WLS.
Now, IN NO WAY am I trying to imply, or do I believe, that I am in any sort of blissful food-issues zen, or that WLS is the way to get to this super happy place where you no longer binge. And my food issues aren't over by a long shot. And I still do, and will, have days when I am convinced that I need some particular binge food, and will have it before I stop to realize that I want something MORE than food, that it doesn't help and makes things worse. But I do notice, especially when I read things like Pasta Queen's wonderful post, that it's different for me now than it used to be. I don't feel so desperate.
Maybe part of that is that before when I was emotionally eating, I was usually ALSO physically hungry. I was hungry, physically, a lot, and lived in terror of being hungry because it seemed so hard to make that go away. Now I'm not afraid of being hungry, because I know it quickly passes, and if I do eat, the small amount of food will keep me satisfied for a long time. So in that way, WLS certainly helps. And especially when I was dieting, it was really hard to avoid binging when I was emotionally hurting AND physically hungry, plus feeling guilty for breaking my diet.
I'm not dieting anymore. I'm eating like a normal healthy person. And I can't "cheat" on life, so having occasional treats doesn't bother me as long as they remain "occasional".
WLS gives me a bit of help here, as it does in a lot of areas, but it isn't the cure for emotional eating by a long shot. Pasta Queen knows this. And most WLS patients know this. But while I want to give myself credit where credit is due, I also don't want to come across as glibly suggesting that it has nothing to do with my lap band. Making healthy choices is much, much easier for me with my band. No doubt about it. Resisting the emotional demons surrounding my obesity is much easier, although it is still tough at times.
Now if only I could apply these kinds of "healthy choices" to studying rather than reading WLS blogs online....