Today I'm going to introduce a patient of ours at Atlantic Bariatric
Center. Her name is Mel and she's just started our bariatric surgery
program. She's going to share her experience over the next few months.
I hope you enjoy her story.
Two months down. Four months to go.
When I first started down this road I felt anxious about having to wait
six months to even START to get my life back. Once I had finally made
up my mind, after reading and researching and reading more and researching
more, that going through with sleeve surgery was ultimately right for
me, I wanted surgery YESTERDAY! I was READY.
At least, I thought I was.
I thought I was going to walk in to this program, commit to the nutrition
plan, commit to the exercise, jump through all the hoops required by my
insurance, and just patiently wait for the six months to creep by. After
all, before having a baby I had done cross-fit six days a week, eaten
so clean, lost 85 pounds on my own – I had learned about food and
nutrition. I was the healthiest I had ever been. I was feeling strong
and fit. If it wasn’t for my circumstances, my fibromyalgia, my
huge abdominal hernia and subsequent surgery to repair that hernia, I
would totally be able to do this by myself. I just needed the tool –
the sleeve – to help me get a head start and I would be golden.
At least that’s what I thought.
Little did I know…
I spent a lot of time and energy in the last seven years learning about
food and nutrition and what was “good” and what was “bad”
and I truly thought I’d had it all figured out. But over the last
two years it’s become clear to me that what I thought was the “only
right way” to eat and exercise to lose weight and get healthy might
not be the ONLY way after all.
My first meeting with Amanda was – eye opening, to say the least.
While I’ve always known about myself that I am competitive, dedicated
and maybe a little obsessive, I didn’t realize how much of a hindrance
that could be to my overall health.
Aside from the physical struggles I was facing, I was quickly learning
that the unspecified eating disorder I had struggled through my late teens
and into my twenties had not been ‘cured’ by my “health
journey” prior to pregnancy, it had just been changed. Instead of
struggling with the urge to not eat, I now struggle with severe food anxiety
over eating the “wrong” foods. While eating “clean”
helped many of my health problems and allowed me to nourish my body with
enough of the right foods, during that part of my journey I never addressed
any emotional or mental aspects of my war with food.
Since starting this new journey, I have come to realize that there are
so many more complex aspects to my healing than just “losing the
weight” – I really need to learn how to not look at food,
ALL food, as my enemy. I need to understand what eating for health really
means, not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well. I am
learning to accept that being obsessive and controlling about eating “perfect”
is just as unhealthy (for me) as eating junk or not eating at all. I need
to learn how to feed and nourish my body as a priority, not an afterthought.
I am starting to accept that my intense cross-fit style workouts that
were amazing for me five years ago, aren’t right for me now, and
that doesn’t mean that there are NO OTHER WORKOUTS EVER. I am slowly
accepting that my body went through some serious trauma and injury and
the “easy” workouts that I am doing (or barely doing or can’t
do yet) are part of my healing process. I am accepting the temporary weakness
of my muscles as something I cannot change immediately and reminding myself
daily that while I may not be as strong today as I was at my physical
peak, I am stronger than yesterday and last week and so much stronger
than I was six months ago. I am reminding myself regularly that although
I feel weak and damaged now, I am heading down a road towards health and
healing and that it really is all going to be an improvement from here.
So, I guess I’m pretty thankful that this process is six months long
after all, and it’s definitely not a bunch of waiting around to
have my surgery and THEN starting to become healthy. The process to becoming
healthy is well underway already.