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Self-Sabotage Snacking After Gastric Bypass Surgery: Why Do We Do It?
LivingAfterWLS reader feedback indicates snacking is the single biggest problem for people after having gastric bypass - the problem being we snack on unhealthy items, we sabotage our weight loss or weight maintenance and we spiral back into the self-loathing that is so much an emotional part of morbid obesity.
None of us goes into surgery expecting to be the one "who lost all that weight and put it back on." None of us goes into surgery expecting to become sneak eaters. We all believe we can beat obesity with our "tool" and we all expect to become healthier, more active, and yes dare I say more attractive and happier after WLS and massive weight loss.
Then why do we work so hard to defeat the system? To abuse the tool?
I spent time perusing the personal journal I've kept since weight loss surgery and I discovered some interesting things about myself and my snacking habits. See if these sound familiar to you:
- Five PM is a trigger snack time for me because I grew up having an after school snack (hungry or not) and when I walk in the door at night from my grown-up job I become a school kid and I want/need/crave my "after school snack."
- When I opt for healthy high protein, low fat, low carbohydrate snacks I am remarkably satisfied and pleased with myself. These snacks include cottage cheese, a hard-cooked egg, deli turkey, sugar-free gelatin, beef jerky, almonds.
- Most often I opt for soft food snacks: crackers, trail mix RitzBitz, wheat toast with peanut butter, and worst of all, Nutter-Butter cookies. When I indulge in these snacks I am not satisfied, I feel sluggish and I become self-loathing. I risk dumping.
- Most of my snacking is done covertly - I purchase a single serve pack from the convenience store and eat it in private; never at my work desk, never in front of my family. This covert behavior is reminiscent of pre-WLS days and causes me to be disgusted with myself. "Who in the hell are you hiding from?" I asked myself in one entry.
- It never occurs to me to snack on carrots or apple slices or berries, oh no! I've convinced myself that roughage stuff will just tear up my tiny tummy. "Can't have that", I say shaking my head with much willpower and determination.
- Consistently my entries about snacking or self-loathing and remorseful filled with negative self talk like "ate mindlessly, AGAIN", "nervous snacking today," "carelessly ate a box of animal crackers, never tasted a bite and then got sick: I'm an idiot", "I was shoving food in my face like a junkyard dog - how ugly that must have looked", "I made stupid food choices today and then ate chocolate cake with frosting and dumped; it was like I was trying to punish myself and I did."
- Consistently my entries about exercising are positive filled with words like "felt great" "could have ran another mile" "feel so strong" "tons of energy" "fantastic workout" "strong lungs feel phenomenal". Yet I more consistently reach for the snack bag than I do my running shoes. Why can't I get it through my thick head what a remarkable thing exercise is for me and that I really do enjoy it and I like myself when I move my body? Why is that such a hard concept to grasp? Why do I prefer to snack and engage in self-loathing?
- If I see the scale going up I panic and then I snack - almost as if I'm sending the message "This (weight loss) was too good to be true; better hurry-up and defeat myself."
- Sometimes I snack just because it's there - just like before surgery.
- I could not find a single entry that read "I was actually hungry today so I had a snack." That tells me I never snack because I'm hungry. Honestly, I seldom feel hungry so why am I snacking?
Do these behaviors sound familiar to you? Are they some of the demons you are fighting these days? Snacking truly is bariatric purgatory because it derails weight loss and causes self-loathing. And worst of all, we do it to ourselves.
For ongoing dialog about snacking and strategies to beat the habit after gastric bypass click on www.livingafterwls.blogspot.com.
Kaye Bailey is a weight loss surgery success story having maintained her health and goal weight for 5+ years. An award winning journalist, she is the author and webmaster of http://www.livingafterwls.com and http://www.livingafterwls.blogspot.com
LivingAfterWLS is a no-nonsense resource for people Living After Weight Loss Surgery. Our community is growing in numbers even as we are shrinking in pounds. Together we support one another in this lifestyle, that it turns out, is NOT the easy way out.
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