Monday, January 19, 2015

The Screwed Uped-ness of the Thinking

It amazes me that I have been following this sparse diet for weeks, healing from surgery, following the letter of the law as my doctor and nutritionist have recommended, losing weight throughout it all, and yet, I can still worry fervently that this surgery is not working.

I have been around the same weight for a week now, hovering between 43 and 45 pounds lost. It is a stall, I guess, but I don't know how much it counts, given that I lost over 6 pounds the week that I had stomach flu. Even so, even if I hadn't lost a pound when I was sick, and I was still stalling here, it would be completely normal. There is no need to worry. 43 to 45 pounds is a lot of weight to drop, and my body needs time to adjust.

My doctor's materials make all kinds of notes not to weigh yourself too often, or to worry about the results. "Just do the work, and let the results follow."


I have one more day, officially, of the soft solid diet, and then on Wednesday, I am cleared to have at it. Try new things. Go crazy and eat something crunchy, for instance. Even with soft foods, I am inching my way to my new normal. Today, I had a lean breakfast sandwich: multigrain bread, egg white, chicken and apple sausage, and a bit of cheese. The whole thing was really perfect, split in half and eaten for two meals, because I couldn't get more than a few bites down at a sitting. Two hundred calories, with 16 grams of protein. By all accounts, a great choice.

And yet, there I was, thinking, "Oh, no. This is bread. I haven't had bread in over eight weeks. What on earth am I doing?!? Now I'm going to start having wild food cravings. Tomorrow I'm going to have gained five pounds."

That, my friends, is the screwed uped-ness of the thinking, the obese mind trying to make sense of the obese-but-forcibly-losing-weight body.

I simply can't fully believe this is working. I think I'm afraid to hope, and a part of my brain is saying, "Hey, 40+ pounds, look at that! Not ideal, but you can live this way. You feel so much better. If you do everything right, and it just doesn't work, this will be just fine."

It's meant to be helpful coping thinking, I'm sure, but it leaves me feeling afraid; afraid to move to a regular diet, afraid to reintroduce any complex carbohydrates (lest I interrupt the weight-loss machine that has been my body lately), afraid to be part of the 1-5% for whom this surgery isn't effective.

Screwed uped-ness lives.

It has been so long since I have really lost weight, significantly, it just seems impossible that the consistent weight-gaining pattern of (almost) my entire adult life could end. No amount of my work or dedication on my part can completely shake this feeling, and the more normal my diet and life becomes post-surgery, the more I think, "Somehow, this is going to end."

Even worse, I think, "Somehow, this is going to end, and it is going to be my fault."

I know, rationally, that something about my body helped to trigger or fuel my obesity, beyond my behaviors or choices. It was never all my fault, as if fault should even be assigned in such a matter. I know that all the shame that I have felt as an adult for being obese—primarily because I assumed all thin people I encountered thought me lazy and gluttonous—was pointless, and only made the problem worse. If I didn't think that I needed a medical intervention in order to treat this, I wouldn't have pursued one, and the results of this intervention are clear: you can't eat much, you aren't hungry much, you lose weight, end of story. All that said, old thinking patterns—even ones that I have worked hard to address—can still strong-arm the new thoughts, the ones that only began to take root in December, as I witnessed my pre-op diet work effectively. 

Is this working? I can't know. I can only do what I'm supposed to do. I can only move forward. It would be shocking if it wasn't working, practically speaking, but to my brain, it is shocking that it even could.

Do you have your own screwed uped-ness of the thinking, those patterns of thought which remain indentured from an older version of yourself, but that don't match your current life? I can't imagine that the obese have the whole market on this. If so, come join the evolution, where we see the old thinking, recognize it for what it is, and kindly tell it that is doesn't work anymore...over, and over, and over.

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