“Is it just me, or are you shrinking?”

I was asked that on another site and it’s funny how a simple remark can bring up a lot of emotional baggage.

Yes, in short, I am losing weight, and thank you for noticing.

Believe it or not, that is a very hard sentence to say.

So, there is background:

When it comes to food, I am pretty knowledgeable and am better informed than most on the topics of:

  • the nutrient values of soil required (or missing) to grow nutritionally balanced food
  • the full farm to fork journey
  • the nutritional value of food
  • the “perfect” diet and ratios thereof

What I did not know? The “cost’ of food that is calculated in the form of Calories or Kilojules.

That’s not to say I did not know that those “boost juices” weren’t a days worth of calories in a styrofoam cup nor that confectionary was a surefire way to fill up on calories without the benefit of nutrients or even that alcohol was also pure (if not tasty and well aged) empty calories.

It was the nutritional things that I forgot to get the “price tag” on. Seeds and nuts are powerful foods – full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins and essential fats … but are also in the same “price” range as the above foods.

So, getting that sorted helped. But … it’s all well and good to eat the freshest, most nutritional, farm sourced materials – but even brussel sprouts will make you fat if you end up eating a kilogram (2.5 pounds) at a time.

So, here I was at 40 years of age. I had been overweight my entire life (except for about 18 months during my 17th and 18th years where I became anorexic – you have to love the duality of my dismorphia!) and as time passed, no matter how active I was, or how well I ate, I may have made the occasional “successful” downsize – but the effort required was simply not maintainable nor, really, did the “reward” outbalance the “sacrifice”.

I just kept getting bigger.

The other thing, even when I was anorexic, and even when I did lose weight, I didn’t see it. OK, yes, I know that sort of is the very definition of dysmorphia and anorexia – but in my head I was and always would be “that fat cunt” as the voices of the devils in my head kept reminding me.

Fighting with demons. It’s one part of losing weight that no one talks about. It’s the fight against dysmorphia. It’s the fight to remove the shackles that may indeed be the cause of other actions.

But even if you do spend a year or so in therapy and tackle them, there’s a new demon that emerges.

How does one deal with not being fat? It’s like having been born deaf and being offered to have a bionic ear – it may seem like a gift to the rest of the world, but to you? Well to you, you have to deal with losing the “you” that was at least in part, “defined” by the very thing you are now planning to change.

Will you still be “you”? Will your friends still accept you? Will you be perceived as better? worse? Will your personality change because of it? Will people treat you better? Will you just become part of the background beige of normality? Will you be prettier? uglier?

The demons voice and the range of questions are never ending.

So, even after all of that, I still lacked one final and very important thing.

Control.

When it comes to “control” it gets complicated. I could “control” the temptation for the “wrong foods”, and I could “control” my willpower to follow a diet and even exercise.

I demonstrated this back in 2004 when I spent an entire year consuming nothing but VLCD shakes, green leaf salad and hitting the gym for 2 hours a day. I dropped 50 kilograms (120 pounds). It took it’s toll though. it took nearly another year to gather enough willpower to do anything else again. Turns out willpower does have a finite availability and is a consumable  But I digress.

For a hundred reasons, in the past when told about laprogastric procedures, I shied away from them. I focussed on the intrusion of surgery and the delusion that I could still do things myself, because hey, as society and the demons kept reminding and telling me, it was my fault.

I just needed to try harder.

Yet, I couldn’t.

I was always hungry. Even when my stomach was full and in pain from stretching, I was hungry. Five minutes later? Hungry.

Always. Insatiable. Never “starving” but never “sated”. A constant, everlasting background hunger.

One day I read a medical journal article that described the phenomena in patients where the peptides that tell the brain that the body has its food store and it’s ok to turn off the messages to consume where stuck in a constant mid point – whereas “normal” people would have a peak and trough style spurts and absences of the peptides, Further, they found that while a range of hormonal or other treatments did not work, nor could they reduce the “midpoint” levels, they could stimulate higher peaks of the “satiation” message through a tightening of the opening to the stomach.

Essentially, lap banding.

So, I went in and talked to a surgeon, and we discussed all of these things. We talked about the issues and the diets and the demons and the ludicrousness of someone telling someone else “it’s just about portion control” and we talked about my fears of surgery and in the end he told me a real simple thing.

“This will make it better. This will let you take control. If you need to reduce your intake, we can adjust the band to help you, and if you need to go away on holidays and want to eat like a starving tourist, then we can loosen it to let you. Most of all, if you decide this is not for you, we can take it out and all you will have is a few scars left behind.”

So. I decided it was what I needed to do. Even with the great Medicare benefits and my private health insurance, I still needed to save for the $6000 of out of pockets and booked the appointment.

That was two months ago. I was 158.4 kilograms (349.22 pounds) on the day of the surgery. My last visit to the surgeon was on monday and he weighed me (I don’t weigh myself otherwise) at 132.3 kilograms (291.67 pounds).

It’s working. I still have some issues, and there are some difficulties that the band places on what and how fast I can eat, but nothing that is insurmountable. However, i still get to be a foodie. i still get to eat out and cook and enjoy the fruits of my gastronomic labours and adventures.

Most of all, I feel like I am now in control of my food, and not the other way around, and for that I am already happier.

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