Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pick your poison

I realize I started this blog to talk about Twirly Girls and the fun I am having with pole fitness, and it has somehow turned into a blog about gastric bypass and weight loss.  But I figure they kind of go hand in hand, since I'm using Twirly Girls to get into shape and be healthy.  I appreciate everyone humoring me by reading my blog.  It has been very therapeutic.  

Most overweight people got there because they like to eat.  Maybe they don't like to call it food addiction, but for me, that's how it was.  I am food-obsessed.  And the more I thought (and still think) about food (i.e., planning out EVERYTHING via Weight Watchers, etc.), the more I wanted to EAT.  I happily joke that Weight Watchers made me fat.   Gastric bypass doesn't fix that problem.  In fact, it almost makes it worse because you WANT to eat but you can't.  So, after weight loss surgery, a lot of patients trade one addiction for another.  The one thing about food (as opposed to cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, etc.) is that you CANNOT completely abstain!  You have to eat to live!!!  (As Weight Watchers likes to say:  Eat to live, don't live to eat!)

Addiction transfer after gastric bypass appears to be pretty common.  I've dealt with it myself.  I mean, not that I needed a reason to go shopping BEFORE surgery, but afterward, it was REQUIRED.  I was losing enough weight to drop a clothing size every single month.  Therefore, every other month, I literally had to replace my entire wardrobe.  That wasn't my fault.  I HAD to shop!  I picked my poison.  It was shopping!!  It's not healthy.  My credit cards paid the price (ha!).  Well, actually I paid the price since I have to pay those credit cards off.  I racked up a lot of debt.  The more weight I lost, the better I felt about myself and the more I wanted to go out and get cute clothes for my smaller frame.  It was easy to justify to myself.  I DESERVED these new clothes.  I was working hard to lose weight (no, I wasn't...it was just happening) and I couldn't go to work in clothes that were three sizes too big!  When you want something, it's easy to justify it to yourself.  It's also funny to me that I turned to shopping in good times AND bad.  If I was depressed, I eased the pain with shopping too.  Shopping was my new friend since Food had turned its back on me.

Some people take other routes.  Alcohol is another popular addiction. It gives you a similar rush to shopping with the added downside of calories you absolutely do not need.  I went through a short period of drinking more than I did before surgery.  I got drunk fast and it just made me feel good.  But I recognized it becoming an issue and hit the brakes.  Now I drink occasionally -- probably once a month or less.  I still love shopping, however. 

You know something is wrong when you have to hide it from the ones you love.  Hiding credit card receipts or acting like that new shirt was just some old thing you pulled out of the back of the closet.  Drinking alone or lying about how much you drink.  All hints that you have a problem. 

I absolutely advocate therapy after gastric bypass.  Not just a support group.  One-on-one, intense therapy to figure out WHY you need to self-medicate.  Whether it's food, shopping, alcohol, sex, drugs, or anything else, sometimes "everything in moderation" cannot apply! 

Until next time, put down that credit card and keep twirling!!

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