My eyes are bigger than my stomach. But that was not always so. Making this discovery made me think about the decades of fighting a weight problem and the years ahead that will, no doubt, require diligence to keep the problem at bay.
As I have alluded to a few times in this blog, I am one of the more than 200,000 people in this country who have weight loss surgery each year. Actually, I’ve had it twice, so does that make me two out of 200,000? Math was never my subject. But anyway…
Since the surgical alteration that has reduced my intake to that of a kindergartener, I have taken to arranging my food either on salad plates or in small bowls. A small piece of this…a dollop of that…trying to get at least a mouthful of each tasty dish that is offered either at home, in a restaurant or at a social gathering. What I’m finding is that even the meager portions I’m taking are just too much.
Back in the day, I think the rule of thumb was pretty much “if it fits on the plate, it’s OK.” Never mind that the pile on the plate may have been taller than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, or that the choices were not exactly ADA-compliant. Those were the days when I really enjoyed food and, doggone it, I was hungry!
Last night, when I took what I thought was an appropriate-sized portion, I couldn’t get anywhere near finishing it! I thought I was starving! I was wrong.
Remember those commercials where the person smacked him or herself on the forehead and said, “I could’ve had a V8”? I did just that, thinking, all those years that I thought I was hungry, I was only hungry in my head!
What I have learned is something I wish had become evident many years ago during my forays with Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and all the rest. It’s that the body produces a “hunger hormone” called ghrelin that tells you to eat so that you don’t go into starvation mode. What I didn’t realize is that after the ghrelin has done its thing, your head takes over. And my head took me directly to the cookie jar…or the bread basket…or wherever else calories reside.
You would think that a diabetes diagnosis, which is generally delivered with a caveat against carbs, would have been my salvation, but that was not the case. My weight increased, as did my numbers, and I was getting older with every full moon. As the plus-size clothing market thrived, so did the number of over-sized v-necks in my closet.
I could blame my inability to lose weight on all sorts of things—genetics, diabetes, diabetic meds—the works. The one place I didn’t look was in the mirror…in my own head. If I had, I might have seen that the decision to be healthy and stay healthy was mine. If I didn’t commit, nothing—no diet, no medical admonitions, no surgery—could do it for me. So although I got some incredible help from the surgical options I chose, and my success was certainly enhanced by them, I’ve got to give myself some credit as well. I did it. And I continue to do it every single day of my life, which now, courtesy of a hundred-pound weight loss, will be considerably longer.
I just learned that more than 29 million people in the United States have diabetes. That’s 9.3% of the population. That’s nuts! While a significant portion of those with diabetes come by it genetically or just through the “luck of the draw,” there are those of us (myself included) whose long-term, unchecked obesity contributes greatly to the condition.
I’m glad I looked in the mirror. I’m glad I got into my head. I highly recommend it.
Stay well, see you next time!