Does it seem like it’s been a while since I’ve posted? Well, it has. And the reason is simple – I’ve been all “tuckered” out – literally!
Meet the newest member of our family, Tucker, a Morkie (maltese/yorkie) puppy who joined our family March 4. Tucker is sweet, lovable, playful and ALL puppy! Having raised 5 kids, let me say he has been very much like having a new baby and a toddler in the house at the same time – no sleep and taking up most of my days chasing after him saying “No Tucker”, “Down Tucker”, “Don’t Tucker.” Even as I sat down to write, he plopped his furry little bottom squarely on the the keyboard, looked up and gave me a kiss on the nose as he settled in to get comfy. (This is his favorite spot when I dare to pull out my laptop.) It’s exhausting, but I’m loving it and loving him!
Seven months and 63 lbs. have now come and gone. It’s hard for me to fathom that that much time has passed since my surgery and that I’ve been able to achieve that weight loss. I don’t think a year ago I ever would have believed it was possible. Three weeks ago I had my 6 month check up with my surgeon. He continues to be very pleased with my progress. He told me that, as far as he is concerned, I have reached my target and the surgery was a complete success. I have reached HIS goal for both my weight and my BMI. I told him I’d still like to lose another 10 lbs. He questioned this a little, but after checking his BMI charts and seeing that I would still remain in the “normal” range, he gave this the “OK,” though he emphasized that I shouldn’t feel I have to. His words were, “anything from this point on is pure bonus.”
My appointment also came with a couple of warning points. First, as I enter into the last quarter of the year, the “speed up” given to my metabolism by my surgery is going to begin it’s slow down, thus, my weight loss is going to slow down. And once I reach the year point, which will be September, I’ll basically be just like anyone else. So, if I haven’t learned the concepts of health that my surgeon and nutritionist have been teaching me all this time – food choices, portion control, exercise etc., I have just as much chance as the next person of putting the weight back on. Once again, this puts the point out there that weight loss surgery is NOT a free ticket, it is not “the easy way out” or a magic pill – it is a tool to be used.
Of course, this begs the question, have I learned these lessons? Am I prepared to ‘go it on my own’ so to speak? I confess that this last month has been a struggle. My weight loss was at a complete standstill after I reached 61 lbs. over a month ago. And, though I know plateaus are to be expected, especially as you come closer to your goal, it’s frustrating none the less. That plateau finally broke this morning, with a 2 lb. loss!
Since Easter, I’ve also found myself struggling with my eating. I have felt my appetite increasing slightly (normal at this stage), but of more concern, I’ve felt that old desire to eat emotionally returning. Up to this point, my fervor to stay “with the program” has overshadowed old habits. But as stress, lack of sleep and pain from my fibromyalgia have increased, my resistance has weakened and I was nearly undone by a jar of jellybeans! Not exactly the way I want to go out – death by jellybeans! In the end, however, victory was mine (cheers from the crowd!) and the jellybeans went into the trash!
All of this has lead me to spend the last couple of weeks re-evaluating my strategies and examining myself more closely. Was I doing something to cause this prolonged plateau? Why do I run to food when I’m angry, hurt or in pain? The plateau part was easy. It didn’t take long to find that my water had slipped well below what it should be and that my workouts could use a boost. As soon as I upped my water and added an extra two pounds to my weights, the scale finally budged again!
Examining the emotional eating side… that’s a little trickier, now isn’t it?! None of us really want to think about that. Why do we do that? Why do we run to food? I discovered that I only run to food when I’m feeling negative emotions – anger, sadness, frustration, pain. Some praying and soul searching helped me to see that as I was growing up, expressing negative emotions was often discouraged. Don’t lose your temper. Don’t get angry. Don’t cry. You’re in pain? Suck it up. Always be nice. Always stay calm. Always be pleasant. Especially if you’re a girl. A lady. Ladies don’t act that way. And this wasn’t just a family thing, though I definitely felt it there, but it was a perception I picked up within Christian circles, in the church, and to an extent, within society in general. Perhaps some of you have also felt that same pressure to always be “nice” and “pleasant.” So, I learned to stuff all those negative feelings down, down, down where no one could see them, but, yet, they still demanded to be dealt with. And, what is a “safe” way to deal with them? Well, I’ll just eat them away! I’m angry at you? I can’t say that so, why don’t I just eat this Big Mac! You really hurt my feelings, but I can’t tell you that, so maybe I’ll just crunch the feelings away with these potato chips! I’m in so much pain from this fibromyalgia, but people are tired of hearing about it, maybe if I eat this donut, it will help me forget about the pain for just a little while! Does any of this sound familiar to any of you?
As I made these revelations, I realized that not only are these habits unhealthy, but as a Christian, they’re unbiblical. The Bible tells me that God has given me “all things that are necessary for life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3) He wants to help me with my struggles. ““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28) I need to take my issues to Him, not to the refrigerator. What does God say about my anger? “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” (Eph. 4: 26 – 27) What does God say when I am hurt? “You know I am very upset. You know how much I have cried. Surely you have kept an account of all my tears.“ (Ps. 56:8 ERV) What does God say about my pain? “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18); “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
How thankful I am that I can trade the false comfort of food for the true comfort and promises of God! “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” (Ps. 34:8)