It’s no secret that I’ve spent YEARS being obsessed with diets and dieting, always searching for the “next best thing” that will get me “thin” once and for all. For such a long time it was never about getting healthy, it was about getting skinny.

Growing up, I was in a school where the average size was a 2 (that’s not an exaggeration, either) and anything larger than that was “fat”. I was only a size 12 and weighed about 165 lbs. during my Freshman year, but I felt like I was 300 lbs with the way I was treated and made fun of for my size. Cat calls of, “Hey, Shamu!” and “Boom-baba-Boom!” when I walked past classmates made me feel fat, ugly, and worthless. I was diagnosed with clinical depression and spent many days and nights crying – and eating.

My first memory of Binge-Eating Disorder happened when I was about 12. I came home from school, crying as usual, and saw that my mother had re-stocked the refrigerator with these amazing tiny frozen pizzas. My favorite thing to do with these pizzas were to cook them in the oven and eat them layer by layer. That day – I cooked and ate half the package. I remember I felt so sick to my stomach. All I wanted to do was to throw up. But I didn’t I held it down. And I went into my bathroom, took off my clothes, stared down my pubescent body and exclaimed, “You’re a FAT UGLY SLOB!”

From then, binge-eating became a frequent occurrence.

I’d eat entire bags of potato chips, boxes and bags of cookies, boxes (multiple) of macaroni and cheese, several pizzas, an entire pan of brownies …

I would eat. I would cry. I would loathe myself. Then I would eat some more.
Because I was very into music and dance and would lock myself in my room and dance for hours on end, I never gained any weight from it. So it was well hidden. Until I entered college.

Most people have the “Freshman 15”. I had the “Freshman 50”. By the end of my first year at college, I had gained enough weight to reach around 230 lbs. I had officially reached the obesity stage of my life, and there I would say.

As time went on, I continued to binge-eat, while dieting the whole time. I tried every diet imaginable, and some that no-one had heard of. I would be very strict, even making huge investments in diet books. Only eating certain foods for a while. But I would cheat often – binging once a week as a “cheat day” and eating an entire week’s worth of calories/fat/carbs in one day. As an adult, on lunch breaks I would stop by more than one fast food restaurant, order more than one full meal – then eat the lot in my car.

I know these stories are familiar to some of you who have seen me post them over and again. And I also know that many of you relate to these stories. So why am I beating a dead horse?

Because these stories don’t necessarily end the moment you come out of surgery.
I continue talk about these things because I AM STILL LIVING THROUGH THEM.

I came out of surgery confident that never again would I have to struggle with diet. Never again would I worry about weight. Never again would I have the issues and addictions that I had prior to. But I. WAS. WRONG.

Having weight loss surgery helped. That’s definitely true. I lost about 100 lbs. I can say with full honesty that weight loss surgery saved my life. And the first year was great. I lost weight. I looked amazing. I felt fantastic. I got down to 185 lbs. But it wasn’t enough. I had a GOAL, darnit – that goal was 165 lbs. At 185 lbs, I had slowed my weight loss and, eventually, stopped. I was terrified. I wanted to be 165 lbs! I had terror images in my mind of my husband weighing less than me. Of never being a size 12. Of remaining “overweight” for the rest of my life.

So the cycle began again.

I began the search for the perfect “diet” again. The diet that would help me shed that last 20 lbs. The diet that would make me thin and gorgeous. I started back on low-carb. Then I went to high-carb. Then low-fat. And so on, and so on, and so on. This has gone on for three years.

I attributed my weight regain (of about 30 lbs) as “normal” and searched for YouTube videos and blog posts that would validate that. While SOME gain (of about 10-15 lbs) IS normal, a 30 lb. gain is an indication that something is wrong. And it’s taken me a very long time to realize what it is that’s wrong.

What went wrong was that I was no longer focused on the health aspect. I had forgotten that, physically, there were things I could do that I’d never been able to do before. Nevermind that I could walk an entire mile without getting winded, or spend an entire day walking around the Renaissance Festival before needing to sit down. I became obsessed with the weight.

This is a trap that so many WLS patients fall into. They forget everything else and obsess over the weight. In some cases, this can lead to bouts of anorexia or bulimia and in others (like in my case) it can lead to diet obsession.

My diet obsession has gone on for so long, that it’s strange to think what life will be like without obsessing over it. My most recent obsession was the ketogenic (Low Carb/High Fat) diet. This diet in particular removes all but 20 g of carbohydrate from the diet and focuses on high fat and “moderate protein”. While this eating plan is great for those that need it, for those that don’t need it bigger health issues can ensue. I didn’t see the health issues that were occurring in my body. I came off of the ketogenic diet fully a few days ago. It took a couple of days, but I began to feel better.

So now the real work begins. Now, I have to stop obsessing over my diet and start focusing on the things that really matter such as eating a variety of good, healthy, nourishing foods including meats, dairy, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. I have to focus on making sure I get my vitamins in and my water. I have to focus on moving my body in a gentle, loving way, spending time with my family, and doing things I enjoy such as crocheting, singing, dancing, and reading.

If you are struggling with food or diet obsession, WLS-induced anorexia or bulima, or even Binge-Eating Disorder, I encourage you to do one of three things – or all three:

1. Find a good counselor that specializes in WLS or eating disorders.
2. Join a local support group such as Overeaters Anonymous or Food Addicts Anonymous
3. Join a local bariatric support group led by a bariatric nutritionist, nurse or doctor.

If you need help finding resources for any of the above, please email us at 7BitesShow@gmail.com or visit us on Facebook. We are here to help!