If I had a penny for every time I have heard the plaintive cry of the WLS blogger why haven’t I lost weight?! I’d be rich. Or better still – if I knew how to persuade them that if they are patient and honest with themselves they would never need to say it again, then I’d bottle it and sell it, and neither me nor my descendants would ever need to work again.
Plateaus need to happen if they didn’t then you would be losing weight too fast and either your health would suffer or you would be complaining further on down the line that you have too much spare skin around your middle and thighs.
One fine day there will be enough money for students to do PhD’s on why weight loss or gain can take days to show on the scales, and its relationship with the fluid we take in and expel, the energy we expend. I have even been so obsessed about it that I have daydreamed about using a toilet with its own built-in weighing scale for before and after. I don’t suppose anyone really understands why the weight of what exits our body doesn’t correspond with the scale afterwards. Or we giggle because we have eaten like pigs and it hasn’t shown up so we think we have got away with it.
Weight-wise be sure that your sins will find you out, and that you won’t need to wait till you get to heaven for the good that you do to be recognized both will show up within the week, trust me.
When you have had weight loss surgery you are very highly motivated at first, particularly as you begin to appreciate what a good tool the gastric band or the gastric sleeve can be. It is much easier, weight is dropping off, people are noticing, you start to experience NSV’s (Non-Scale Victories, e.g. your clothes fit better, you can sit in the bath without it overflowing, you can sit comfortably in an airline seat, etc). Amid the praise you are getting, you protest modestly Thank you, but I have got a long way to goa.
And then for some people the unthinkable happens. Your stubborn other self reappears demanding all the wrong foods, even though they are much easier to resist these days. And then you realize your brain hasn’t changed and you still have to fight. You have learned the tricks of the trade how to eat what you shouldn’t and get it past the band or make it fit in (read stretch) the pouch or the sleeve. Your weight loss stops, you blame it on the procedure not working. The usual problem is that your brain has adjusted (a) to your new weight and (b) to your new regime, but all those years of bad habits are still there, and whether you are aware of it or not, your brain is setting you up to outwit you.
You have to make one of two decisions to stay and fight or re-group.
Fight: Sit down somewhere calm where you can think clearly without interruptions and ask yourself what you really want from life, and how much you are blaming your failure on other people or circumstances. Be realistic. Do you hate exercise but keep forcing yourself to go to the gym to keep your bad conscience at bay? Make a plan you can stick to, however modest. Establish a pattern of behavior that will enable you NOT to think about food and losing weight. And once you have done that, do yourself a favor: this is truly the best friend to the person trying to lose weight find something else to think about. Develop your favorite hobby (mine is writing for example, and it’s been a great help), spend more time away from your thoughts about yourself. It is all slowly grind into gear again. Remember this time it’s different. You don’t have to work up a head of steam to go back on a diet like in the old days. The band/sleeve still works, you have just got to listen to it.
Re-group: Maybe there are circumstances in your life right now which are making it too hard to obey the rules. Well, it happens, don’t be hard on yourself. You may not be able to stick to the deadline you set yourself at the time of your operation, but it doesn’t matter. Be aware that there are many people like you going through the same thing. Be aware as you sit down to a meal that the band is still working, still slowing you down. It is there for you, whether you try to ignore it for six months or not. It is the faithful hound curled up under your chair waiting for you to leap to your feet and cry Walkies!, when he jumps up with eyes sparkling, ready for the next adventure.
Till next time.
Lonicera The Bandit