I’m 3 weeks postop with my sleeve. I’ve lost 23lbs since surgery, 52lbs total since I started the preoperative plan that Kaiser put me on (real food everyday, just smaller portions). I’ve gone down three sizes in pants, a trend which will hopefully continue for awhile.
Those are the facts that most people want to hear about weight loss. But there’s more to this processes than just weight, and for me it is even more complicated because let’s be honest– I have an eating disorder. I say that because although I’m not as symptomatic as I was when I went into treatment 7 years ago I still am affected by eating disordered thinking and I struggle with that everyday, much like how people in AA call themselves alcoholics when they introduce themselves in meetings, knowing that everyday they have to deal with their addiction and are affected by it even if they don’t drink. I’ve had to stop weighing myself everyday because I’ve been obsessing about how much I lose and it really affects how I show up in the world everyday. Not losing enough each day makes me agitated, and a stall– well, let’s just say I do my best not to lose my shit, but it makes me want to stay home from work and cry a little. So I’m really trying to nip that in the bud.
It’s really easy to ignore your eating disorder because honestly no one wants to talk about mental illness, and eating disorders are mental disorders that manifest in physical ways. For me, being plus sized for most of my life meant that most people didn’t even take my illness seriously, even when I was diagnosed by a doctor and went into treatment. I didn’t look sick, and I wasn’t emaciated– far from it, I was actually overweight. It boggles my mind that that stereotype about eating disorders still exists, it’s so detrimental for many people who suffer from EDs and in some ways it discourages recovery. Anyway, it felt like no one believed me and I thought that if they didn’t believe I was sick then I really wasn’t. So I tried to ignore my disorder. I stopped going to treatment. I pretended I was okay. Instead of dealing with my disorder head on, I pushed it as far away from my conscious self as possible so I didn’t have to think about it. And sure, I was less symptomatic, but those behaviors never stopped– I was never really free of the disorder, I just learned to ignore it.
But then I started this seriously intense weight loss journey in August. I went to my first orientation for the bariatric department through Kaiser, I started their preoperative plan. And suddenly food and eating behavior was right in my face again. I really tried to fight it and stay positive instead of being dragged down with symptoms. But they came anyway– they never really left. Post surgery is even worse because now 80% of my stomach is gone so I’m physically unable to eat what a normal person can eat. Talk about a restriction trigger! And since I’ve had the surgery I’ve been way less hungry in general, and eating food feels like a chore. So it’s incredibly easy to fall into a restrictive cycle like I was doing before I went into treatment. But I think the worst part about all of this is that there is a part of me that really wants to restrict. I miss my eating disorder. That’s sick, I know. But honestly, it made me feel powerful. It made me feel like I was in control. It feels really good to restrict your intake, it gives you these ideas around “willpower” and inner strength and when you get positive results it makes you feel like you’re the master of your own life (especially when life is trying to say the opposite).
So I don’t know what to do. I’m not sure if this is even going to lead to anything. I don’t know if this means I’m heading back down the road to EDville (although I don’t think so). But I’m a little scared.