Thursday, March 13, 2008

Can Non-WLS Folks Understand Us?

Before I had surgery I thought I understood what my sister and mother had gone through in their WLS journey. They ate smaller meals and had to limit the “bad food” and lost weight. It was just a strict diet, right?

I learned a bit more as I was going through my research phase for my own surgery. I learned more about the mental and emotional side of the surgery. Read about the struggles other post-ops went through and in my mind knew the “right” answers to all those questions about head hunger and food addiction and no longer being able to use food as a comfort or companion. I knew there were struggles to be faced. I also knew that I was strong enough to face them.

But when I look back to my understanding before surgery of those struggles I realize I knew very little about what was about to come. About what I would really be facing.

So if I, as someone who spent 18 or more months researching this surgery and lifestyle change, am surprised at the magnitude of the struggle. How can I expect someone who hasn’t had the surgery to fully understand?

Can anyone really get it unless they’ve walked in our shoes and had to live through the struggle themselves?

Oh sure, I could treat it as “just a strict diet” and stop worrying so much about the mind games and trying to improve all areas of my life. But if I don’t deal with the mental aspect of what got me obese in the first place, I’ll just end up at risk for regaining the weight and falling back into bad habits. Do I really want to go back to being the person who stops at Domino’s after work to pick up dinner – and eats the majority of a medium pizza alone? No. Do I want to go back to being the person who is bored at home on a Sunday afternoon so bakes a cake and eats a third of it before bed? No. I don't want food to be a controling force in my life. I don't want food to be the first thing I think of when I'm trying to find something to occupy my time.

I want to deal with the emotions and demons that made me do things like that and figure out some alternative way of dealing with my boredom, laziness, happiness, sadness or whatever other emotion that causes people to eat instead of face the emotion and deal with it without food. And the only way I can do that is to face those demons head on and fight them to the death.

But for someone who doesn’t struggle with those demons…. they probably won’t ever get it, will they?

I want my life to be a certain way. And in order to achieve that I have to work really hard to make the changes I want to see. What other time in my life will I ever have the perfect opportunity to get healthy in ALL areas of my life?

That's why I joined that group therapy session. To develop a plan for changes I want to make in every aspect of my life. Not just my physical health and the food I eat. But also my spiritual health, my financial health, my relationship health, my vocational and intellectual health -- everything. WLS seems like the perfect springboard for those changes.

This journey is more than just a strict diet. It’s about getting in touch with who I am and what I’m about. Figuring out how to love myself despite my flaws while still working to fix as many of those flaws as I can. I’m not sure anyone can really understand what that’s like until they’ve gone through it themselves.



  1. I just wanted you to know that I love this and I am linking it on my blog. =)

  2. This is the most wonderful post and is everything I feel and have been unable to articulate. Thank you so much.


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