“Designated Fat Girl” author, tells us that “Gastric Surgery Cured My Food Addiction.”

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I never heard of this author, nor had she been a presence on the message forum this post was placed on before.  These type of posts usually disappear before forum members actually see them, because, well they are spam.  "Hi, buy my book!"  But this time, it's different.  The product is perfectly targeted for our community, a book written by a post gastric bypass patient about her experiences. 

How long does it take to publish a book?  The author had surgery in 2008, and the book was released in 2010.

But, here's the main issue:  the author states that "gastric surgery cured her food addiction."  However, in an article published October 25th, 2010, she was addicted to food.

Wait, what?  How?  That's just… amazing!  If this is true, where is the miracle cure that most of the WLS community is missing out on?  And, if she's got the answer inside this book?  RUN!  DO NOT WALK!  

Personally, years to realize that I   even had an issue WITH food, I laughed at my pre-operative psych testing and nutritional counseling.  "Is this really necessary?"  When I shared the truth of some of my husband's pre-operative eating habits, it was looked upon with shock, not acceptance.  One doesn't get to 370 pounds on vegetables.  (And, seven years later, he still doesn't.) 

Stomach surgery is not going to change what is inherently wrong in your head.

The author states that she's had a gastric bypass in 2008, and that she's cured from food addiction, in two weeks, apparently… as that Salon article was published in October 2010:

"I do make the claim that gastric cured my food addiction…and that's because I am no longer physically able to abuse food.  My experience with gastric has made it so I get violently ill if I attempt to overeat.  Is that everyone's experience?  No, but it is mine, and that is the story I am sharing.  I also had terrible complications from gastric, but I know that's not evereyone's experience either.  This is just my story.  I've often said food addicts are at a real disadvantage because unlike say an alcoholic or drug abuser, a food addict has to continue consuming the substance they abuse…there's no getting away from it.  But one of the advanatages some food addicts has is that with a tool like gastric bypass, they are able to treat their addiction in a way not afforded to other substance abusers.  Does that mean all of my problems went away?  Certainly not, because as anyone with an addiction will tell you, once you stop abusing the substance,  you're left with trying to find out why you're inclined to hurt yourself in the first place.  And that is the really hard problem to work on, one that I am sure I will be saddled with for the rest of my life."

And… she's currently struggling to EAT 1000 calories a day, right now. 

"I'll say this one last thing and then I'm done trying to make my point: I had my surgery two and a half years ago and I struggle to fit in 1,000 calories a day. At my worst, I was eating in excess of 10,000 calories a day. I no longer abuse food. It's just a fact. My surgeon says gastric affects people in different ways (hence all the complications I had)…and one of the effects, for me, is that I can't abuse food. And once I learned I couldn't, I slowly, over time, lost the need or want to do so."

A cure indicates that quite possibly, the problem (food addiction in this case) is gone forever. 

This might indicate that the source of the issue has been altered somehow. 

We are quite aware that the source of overeating and inappropriate eating behaviors is not located in the digestive tract, it's in our brains.  And, so far as I know, the only brain surgery for weight loss is in the trial phases.

The author mentions several instances where she ate until she made herself violently ill, at a very early stage post operatively.  "4-5 times" of entire bags of potato chips.  Is the cure that vomiting and dumping makes her feel so horrid that she no longer has the urge to binge?

The author stated that she struggles currently, to get in 1000 calories.  And, that possibly this results from her complications. 

She explained that her weight loss came easily due to malnutrition.   She had a very rough time. 

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I suppose I could find it very easy to say that I had cured my food addiction if I couldn't EAT either!

As gastric bypass patient who gets dumping syndrome and reactive hypoglycemia nearly daily on random food choices, I understand that you might do ANYTHING TO AVOID GETTING SICK. 

She states:   

"My experience with gastric has made it so I get violently ill if I attempt to overeat."

But, avoiding the normal side effects of a gastric bypass is not "curing food addiction," is it?  Like the author, I cannot overeat because I will get ill.  But, that isn't because I am cured.  That's because I prefer not being ill.

Nor is overeating to the point of esophagus stuffing and subsequent nausea is not a cure.  It's a WARNING.  This is a sensation only weight loss surgery patients KNOW.   Fun stuff right there.

Many of us chose the bypass because of the nasty effects of dumping, and it's slap-your-wrist function.  "Don't eat that ice cream, you will get sick!"  Because, it works.  It's a nasty little reminder.

It's not a cure for food addiction.  I GUARANTEE YOU THAT 100%.  Perhaps gastric bypass triggers a bit of remission, "a relatively prolonged lessening or disappearance of the symptoms of a disease." 

I have countless bypasser friends and acquaintances (raise your hands, or not) whom…

  • fail to get in necessary calories or macro-nutrients
  • have had complications that cause lack of intake
  • overeat
  • eat sugar to fall asleep
  • plan to eat crap at certain times
  • binge
  • eat inappropriate foods "on purpose"
  • eat just enough not to get sick
  • chew and spit
  • lick salty snacks
  • liquefy solids
  • vomit
  • drink liquid calories
  • So on,  so forth, and don't even get started on the transfer of these habits to OTHER issues.

Many will find any way around the bypass, and any way around the "sick."  For those fortunate/not fortunate enough to dump, they have a hard time not avoiding excess junk, as it's just so easy to eat.

Certainly there are other reasons as to why people become morbidly obese to begin with, not simply food addiction or other emotional causes.  Such as medications, illness, and genetics, however:

"Despite obesity having strong genetic determinants, the genetic composition of the population does not change rapidly. Therefore, the large increase in . . . [obesity] must reflect major changes in non-genetic factors." 

Hill, James O., and Trowbridge, Frederick L. Childhood obesity: future directions and research priorities. Pediatrics. 1998; Supplement: 571.

Admittedly, there are some of us who feel somewhat apathetic about food after weight loss surgery.  I don't really care about the food in the way that I did pre-operatively.  But, I would never say that I am cured, because the beast of addiction resurfaces in any way it CAN, even if it doesn't come out a food addiction.  Because of this I must remain cognizant that YES I AM LIKELY TO PICK UP A HABIT.  I am aware that my past as a morbidly obese person stems from over eating.  I am aware that I have family history of obesity AND addiction. 

If I don't fulfill the addiction to FOOD, I will fulfill it SOME OTHER WAY.  Always.  Even with harmless <coffee> habits.  Think about it for a moment.  Since you had weight loss surgery, if food is no longer your OBSESSION?  What IS IT?  I guarantee you replaced it.  (Put down that crochet needle, I see you.  LOL.)

The degree to which learning and memory sustain the addictive process is only now being appreciated. Each time a neurotransmitter like dopamine floods a synapse, scientists believe, circuits that trigger thoughts and motivate actions are etched onto the brain. Indeed, the neurochemistry supporting addiction is so powerful that the people, objects and places associated with drug taking are also imprinted on the brain. Stimulated by food, sex or the smell of tobacco, former smokers can no more control the urge to light up than Pavlov's dogs could stop their urge to salivate.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,986282-5,00.html#ixzz15eOWfsbt

I am afraid that some of us don't know this going in to our weight loss surgery journey — and if we hear that "gastric surgery cured my food addiction" — we're being sold on something that does not exist. 

Unhappy, obese individuals may see weight loss surgery as an answer to their problems. They believe that their lives will become easier if they lose the weight. However, many psychologists believe that without therapy, the addictive behaviors could remain or even become more harmful. As the excitement of losing weight begins to wears off, the underlying unhappiness is still there, and an individual will still try to find some way to fill the void.

http://www.docshop.com/2007/10/22/bariatric-surgery-stands-no-chance-against-an-untreated-food-addiction

I challenge the author to write a book in several years, on the same topic, after reaching and maintaining a massive weight loss without transfer addiction. 

This is a very long interview, and raises about fifty questions worth asking.  

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