This week marks the beginning of the end of my pre-surgical life and body. This week is the beginning of what is sure to be a cascade of busy-ness, most of which is related to my upcoming surgery.
I meet with a dietician this week. I am unsure as to what will happen during this meeting, but it is something my surgeon has recommended I do, so I am doing it. I am sure we will discuss the way I currently eat and that I will get schooled in how I should be eating, and how I will be eating post-sleeve. I know that I have many questions for her about things I can do prior to the hardcore pre-op diet my surgeon puts all his patients on. I am a little anxious about this preliminary meeting but I think once I get it over with, it might not be so bad, and might actually alleviate whatever anxiety I have regarding eating post-sleeve.
We have slowly begun the process of ridding the house of processed carbs, sugary things and foods we simply won’t be able to eat. I call it “staging the house for success.” Much like one might stage their home to successfully sell it to a willing buyer, the process of ridding the house of things that will impede my success in this major effort to lose weight is the process of staging my environment for success in my endeavor. For example…
We had several boxes of Girl Scout cookies that I took to school and gave to my students during AP exam review sessions last week–and I am proud to say that I didn’t have a single one. It’s not that I dislike them–quite the contrary! I remembered something my therapist said in our support group meeting last week:
“I think when you are deciding whether to eat a certain thing or choose inactivity over activity, you have to ask yourself, ‘How does this improve the quality of my life?’ It goes along with the mindful eating we’ve talked about before.”
I’ve begun to ask myself that question now when I eat. I really am trying to work on making better decisions about what I put into my body food-wise, but it is tough. It is hard to turn away things that for so long brought both comfort and joy, however false both of those feelings may have been. Food shouldn’t be the thing bringing me comfort and joy–it should be other things, like perhaps spending time with people I love or a day spent outside or something else, but not food.
How does ________ improve the quality of my life?
It truly is something to consider, and not just about things I eat.
Asking myself that question is like staging my brain for success. After all, bariatric surgery fixes the digestive system’s contribution to obesity by decreasing stomach capacity and eliminating the portion of the stomach that makes ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Dealing with a new stomach is the easy part, I’m told. It’s rewiring the brain that’s tough.
Surgery does not fix the brain or the psychic issues affiliated with obesity. I know that this fight for my health will have to be a constant and vigilant one, and one that involves me asking myself “how will this improve the quality of my life” about everything I do–food, activity, relationships, everything. This process of surgical weight loss is a holistic one for sure, and I recognize that I will have to work on the psychic battle that I’ll fight the rest of my life. I will likely take advantage of the behavioral health portion of my health insurance that includes counseling for weight loss and body image issues, since it is free for the first 12 visits. Might as well…I’m paying a pretty penny for it, and it can’t hurt.
Staging my environment for success involves other things too, like taking the time to plan meals, packing lunches ahead of time, making breakfasts so that it’s not tempting to stop on the way to work to pick something up (which has been my habit this year, an ugly one!), and cooking ahead of the week so that it’s not so easy to say, “Let’s just go out.” I have to frontload my effort so that I get the dividends the rest of the week.
Staging your environment for success involves surrounding yourself with people who will support you on your journey toward a healthier you. Thankfully, I have a partner who is supportive and willing to do these things with me, as he will be having his own sleeve surgery the month after mine. I can’t imagine trying to do this stuff with someone who is not willing to support my efforts. I know that there are many others out there who have been through this surgery whose families, partners and friends have not been supportive, and who have actually actively attempted to sabotage their efforts. I am glad to be surrounded by people who recognize how important this is to me, and who will support me in my effort to be healthy.
Some of the staging of my environment for success will come after I’ve had my day with the surgeon–getting rid of clothes that are too large, that do not flatter me and that I will never wear again; taking water aerobics and Zumba classes, and once I’ve lost my first 100ish pounds, taking the beginning runner’s class at Luke’s Locker. I can’t wait until I can accomplish all of those things, but the staging of my current environment for success will ensure that I get there.