Thursday, October 22, 2009


What a great word!  SABOTAGE.  It makes me think of spies, bad guys, intentional chaos, loss of control, and FAMILY.

My dear friend Amy was talking about how her mom doesn't intend to sabotage her weight loss.   And I'm sure she doesn't.  But inevitably, the people we depend on most for support will inevitably end up sabotaging our efforts at one point or another.  Sometimes it might even end up as self-sabotage.  We might go visit the folks and they'll have their normal junk food in the house.  That Oreo looks so good!  It won't hurt to have just one!  But that one turns into another one half an hour later, and before we know it we've eaten half a package of Oreos in a single day.   Or a whole bag of chips.  Or that bag of M&M's that's in my nightstand drawer.  (Don't tell the kids!  That's MOM'S stash!)

Sometimes we don't think about the fact that we're putting excess calories and fat into our mouths, and where it's going.  We may be eating and grazing because we're bored.  It may be because the people we're around cause us stress and eating is our soothing mechanism.  It may be just because it's what everybody else is doing.  We MUST think about every single thing we put in our mouths, and why we're doing it.  We made the choice to have a body modification to help us lose weight, but (I hate saying this) it's just a tool.  If we're making the choice to eat the crap then WHY have weight loss surgery? 

What are your junk addictions that you're having a hard time putting away?  Why do you think it's so difficult to put it aside and turn it away when it's screaming in your face?  What can you do to deal with those addictions?

The holidays are coming up faster than I care to think of, and for a lot of people it's a stressful time.  We'll be gathering with family and carrying on traditions that have gone on for generations.  Inevitably, those traditions are going to center on food.  One of the most important things I've learned since having surgery is that a family gathering is about the time we spend together as a family, it's not about the food.  I don't have to sample every single thing that's out on the table just because it's there.  Not only will people not care if I don't eat it, they likely won't even notice because we're so busy just spending good time together. 

What about those people that DO notice, though?  The ones that are pushy and want you to eat more?  It depends...Are you open with your family about your surgery and weight loss?  Tell them that your tummy only gives you "Iiiiiiitty bitty living space!" and "Thanks, but I'm really just not hungry."  Still pushing?  Give them FACTS.  Your stomach, fully stretched to capacity, only allows you to hold 1/4 to 3/4 cup of food.  Because of this you have to be selective about your food choices and need to get good filling proteins in first, then veggies.  That doesn't leave room for much of anything else.  You might choose to have a bite or two of pumpkin pie later on (if you know your tummy can handle it) but for right now, thanks but no thanks.

If you're not sharing your weight loss with your family and they start noticing that you're eating less, and maybe start pushing you to eat more...there's still nothing wrong with saying no.  Maybe "Thanks, but I'm working on living healthier."  DON'T pretend to eat more, because you WILL eat more.  You don't have to be honest with the people around you about your surgery, but you DO have a responsibility to be honest with YOURSELF. 

So back to the issue of family or friends bringing crap around you when you're not sure you can refrain from it.  It's really hard to speak up, especially when you don't want to point out THEIR eating issues.  I firmly believe,  though, that the best gift we can give ourselves and our families is our gentle honesty.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with sitting a family member down and making a point of having a discussion.  Explain that while you respect their choice to eat what they want it's difficult for you to not eat those things when that person is around.  It's a habit to share those foods with that person, and food habits are the oldest habits most of us have, and are the hardest to break.  You want to continue spending time with that person, but it would be so helpful to YOU if they'd not bring the snack junk around you.  Who knows, maybe you can put your heads together and come up with some healthier choices to snack on?  (Mmm....homemade hummus and veggies!)  I think my biggest point, really, is that we need to speak up for ourselves. 

Think about everything you're putting in your mouth.  Do you need it or do you want it?  Are you going to regret it later?  Why do you want it?  Is it an emotional or physical craving?  Can you stop yourself at one cookie, one chip, one sip?  Do you want it just because it's a habit?  Be honest with yourself!

Thumbs up!!  When people question why I'm eating so slowly or leaving so much on my plate I show them my thumb.  "This is how big my stomach is.  Iiiiiiiiitty bitty living space!!!"  Sometimes a simple explanation is the best.

Quality, not quantity.  Enjoy the family you're with.  You might even have MORE fun without that loaded plate in hand.

Be honest with yourself and those around you.  You can be honest with somebody and not tell them the full truth. 


melsreturn said...

AMEN! It's easy to lose track of what you've eaten if you don't write it down... its so important that when things seem to be spiraling out of control, to start back keeping a food journal. While I don't keep one everyday of my life, I do go back often to re-organize and re-group...

Meg said...

Yep, I'm having to get back to that, too. More to make sure that I'm actually getting ENOUGH protein & water, I've been really neglecting it lately.

Amy W. said...

oh meggie poo, this is waas a great post. Right now, I am pouting and grumpy...and can't form coherent thoughts...but I think there is more to me not telling my mom to stop bringing it in the house...possibly bc I secretly want to eat it...

I need help.


Meg said...

When you want to eat it, you call me. Both of my numbers are in my FB info! You can call ANYTIME, seriously.