Ok… so maybe “jerk” isn’t the right word, maybe I’m more like the “Debbie Downer” of the support group?
I say this because I’ve noticed in the last couple of support group meetings I’ve attended there have been a couple of patients about 4 months out that have talked a lot about how their “relationship with food is completely different” and that they see bad food “all the time” and they “pass on the bad food all the time and it doesn’t even bother them – they don’t even think twice about it!” These people have literally used the word “easy” when making these statements – and of course, it is at this point that I see the eyes of the pre-op patients light up.
This makes me uncomfortable because I too felt this way for a long time. I felt this way during the six month supervised diet (with a full stomach) and I felt this way for probably 7 months after surgery as well. But, it doesn’t last. I don’t know that I’ve come across a single vet on any of the forums I frequent say that this kind of feeling lasts – really it’s all a part of the “honeymoon period” people talk about – you know, the period of time after surgery where not only it is easiest to physically lose weight, but it is also the easiest time to exercise willpower. (Side note: this is exactly why it is so alarming to see people talk about going off their plans within the first few weeks or months.)
So, anyway…what have I done during the last couple of support group meetings when this happens? I instantly jump in after these statements and tell everyone how it does get more difficult and the ease of resisting temptation doesn’t last forever. I say things like, “Well, I felt that way too… but being a bit further out, I can tell you that it changes” and things of that nature.
I feel like it could come off as me just trying to contradict the newest post-op patients when I do this, but I think it’s REALLY important for people to understand that it’s not a permanent state of being for most, if not all people. I want these pre-op patients to know that it’s hard work and these feelings don’t last forever. At the same time, I don’t want to seem like a “Debbie Downer” or jerk. I certainly don’t want to come off as unsupportive either. However, I think support is letting these people know the good and the bad of this whole process – and most newly post-op people seem to only be highlighting the good points.
I think I would rather be the “jerk” of the support group and be “real” with them, than painting a picture in their minds that somehow our relationship with food has magically changed forever. I think the newly post-op patients are going to see (very soon) this picture is just a mirage – and unfortunately they probably won’t come to support group anymore. Just to give you an idea of the support group participation – I’m 10 months post-op and the 2nd furthest out “regular” attendee. Scary!