Maybe it's because I'm special. Or in pain. Or just not understanding because maybe I am in a different head space. I am voting that I again, am not normal.
I'm watching online conversations about "food addictions" and "binge eating" after weight loss surgery and I am awfully confused.
For example — a post WLS patient describes herself as a binge-eater, going through the steps of sobering up or breaking this addiction.
Eating disorders happen after weight loss surgery, I know it can be a serious complicating issue. I have several online friends who DO have diagnosed eating disorders post weight loss surgery, and a few that are definitely suspect, and who don't know they suffer. It happens, it's reality. So be it.
I do not discount her experience.
However, what she describes, doesn't sound so dire.
It doesn't sound anything at all like what my friends have suffered at the hands of their eating disorders. At all.
Again, I realize symptoms differ from person to person, and can be entirely different for each person suffering. Unless there are major factors that she's not discussing, I am concerned that the behavior she is trying "break-free" from is quite normal, well, very normal… within the realm of a weight loss surgery patient. In fact, they sound quite normal for lots of people who might absent-mindedly "go-to" food as a coping mechanism. But, all out ADDICTION?
But, my sense of normal is obviously off the charts, I drink 1.5 pots of coffee per day and break half of the "Rules Of The Pouch." That probably makes me certifiably insane by some of your post WLS standards. Lock me away. Just allow me coffee and cheese.
Why do I care? Because many of us are reading about these issues — and wondering — no, I know they're wondering, because I'm getting the emails —
"WAIT A MINUTE, I DO THAT. I didn't know it was WRONG! What, do I have an eating disorder too? Do I need treatment? OMG. Somebody tell me if I am okay?"
And, to be honest, this reminds me alot of that scary window salesman who pushed Overeaters Anonymous on myself and my husband when I mentioned that we had weight loss surgery –
"You must admit that you have no power over food."
YOU! OUT OF MY HOUSE!
We're doing alright, WHY THE HELL are you scaring the newly UNFAT? SHOO! GET. OUT. OF. MY. HOUSE.
Get your God out of my crackers! I happen to ENJOY eating. Just, in Very Small Amounts! I'm not going to hide my crackers, don't TAKE THEM FROM ME. You do not want to mess with a hypoglycemic's snacks.
Binge eating, as described by the Weight Control Network:
Most of us overeat from time to time, and some of us often feel we have eaten more than we should have. Eating a lot of food does not necessarily mean that you have binge eating disorder. Experts generally agree that most people with serious binge eating problems often eat an unusually large amount of food and feel their eating is out of control.
People with binge eating disorder also may:
- Eat much more quickly than usual during binge episodes.
- Eat until they are uncomfortably full.
- Eat large amounts of food even when they are not really hungry.
- Eat alone because they are embarrassed about the amount of food they eat.
- Feel disgusted, depressed, or guilty after overeating.
It's pretty easy for anyone to slide into those categories, especially if we qualified for weight loss surgery. You could probably qualify for many of these as a pre-op, and you didn't even think about it. Many WLS patients were compulsive overeaters prior to surgery, and the surgery only partially helps.
I suppose the difference is — post surgery — DOING SO CAN CAUSE DISTRESS. Over-eating can physically cause PAIN, discomfort, dumping, nausea or any number of things. That's a big impetus for many post ops to quit overeating to begin with — to avoid the pain. They aren't thinking about the emotional causes, triggers, to overeating, they just don't want to throw up.
We're not really thinking about being POWERLESS, we are thinking, "Holy shit, I don't want to break my pouch!"
I knew going in to roux en y surgery that overeating or eating the inappropriate foods would cause a physical reaction, and would put me in time out for being "bad." That was part of my reasoning for choosing roux en y surgery, I wanted to know that I would PAY DEARLY for messing with Ben + Jerry.
And, I do. Pay Dearly. Not, mess around with Ben + Jerry. I have other vices. Hello, caffeine! But, on that thread, do I think I require 12 Steps Away From Coffee? Maybe two. One – STOP. But, you know what TWO is? MEDICATE. There's always something else.
I guess what I am trying to say is — if we qualified for weight loss surgery, we sort of went in to this game with an eating problem, no? It shouldn't come as a big surprise that later on — "How did that stack of crackers disappear?" Oh. That was me. Uh. Sorry. The crackers aren't holding Supreme Power! over me. I'm stupid and I eat them. I'm not saying YOU are, I am saying I AM.
We are aware that we have a problem when we go under the knife, that's why we're doing it, to "gain control," because we failed every other method. (Or at least we pretended we did to get insurance coverage.)
But — this? Perhaps before weight loss surgery, but do you still do this now?
Compulsive Overeating/Binge Eating Disorder
- Fear of not being able to control eating, and while eating, not being able to stop.
- Isolation. Fear of eating around and with others.
- Chronic dieting on a variety of popular diet plans.
- Holding the belief that life will be better if they can lose weight.
- Hiding food in strange places (closets, cabinets, suitcases, under the bed) to eat at a later time.
- Vague or secretive eating patterns.
- Self-defeating statements after food consumption.
- Blames failure in social and professional community on weight.
- Holding the belief that food is their only friend.
- Frequently out of breath after relatively light activities.
- Excessive sweating and shortness of breath.
- High blood pressure and/or cholesterol.
- Leg and joint pain.
- Weight gain.
- Decreased mobility due to weight gain.
- Loss of sexual desire or promiscuous relations.
- Mood swings. Depression. Fatigue.
- Insomnia. Poor Sleeping Habits.
I am concerned that we're not allowing ourselves to be normal, normal former morbid-obese girls, though. Cut yourself a little…slack here. The function of most weight loss surgeries prevents you from creating too much caloric havoc — you do have to work a little bit to break them. (Want to learn how to gain weight with a gastric bypass? I can teach you. I'm totally writing an eBook.)
If we had surgery to "control" ourselves because we were out of control, and we then restrict our diets to a very limited intake to "control" ourselves, and then further "control" the situation by blowing up mostly normal post WLS food intake into sinful acts?
We leave ourselves entirely out of control. Nothing to eat, standing in front of the fridge recycling thoughts of what "I don't need." Nothing like beating yourself up over a snack. Is it worth it?
What is left to lose? What are you going to do when you've villified all food and all food intake situations?
If food is no longer an option — you may very well find another — "option."
Right. It ain't knitting, honey. (Well, for you it is. But, you are weird. <3)
Have you read Weighty Secrets? Everybody done doin' something. You just don't KNOW ABOUT IT.
It's all too much.
And, no, emailers, you don't appear to have an eating disorder, but if you do, so do I, and so do we all. Let's book a whole wing someplace. Wait, that sounds, appealing… actually.