Big shout out to Hot Mess Princess fan Sherry W. for inspiring today’s blog post with the question she posted on my Facebook fan page. Sherry…you eff’in rock!
After I posted that I’d had quite the day from hell, I noted that it wasn’t too long ago that I would have “rewarded” myself at the end of a bad day by ordering a pizza and polishing off a pint of mint chip before bed. At work, I would have spent a small fortune on vending machine crap, then covertly tucked it into a little Starbucks bag (you know, the ones with the rope handle). That way, I looked like I was just taking a dainty little muffin back to my desk instead of two bags of chips, Zingers, a Snickers, a 3 Musketeers, and a bag of stale lemon cookies. Seriously, this fatty’s got smuggling skillz.
I can’t do that anymore. And I won’t do that anymore.
Sherry’s question? “So you still want the crappy food right? What keeps you from just eating it? That is where I struggle.” When I read Sherry’s words, I felt them right down to the bottom of my little Hot Mess heart.
The answer? Yes, I do still want the crappy food. Not all the time, but I get cravings. What I’m learning is that it’s not really me who wants it. It’s the scared little girl in my head. Or a demon…I’m not sure which. Probably like those creepy little girls in The Shining. Remember? First, you’re all “Oh hey! Look at the cute little twin girls in their matching dresses” and then ten seconds later blood pours out of the elevator and you’re all “Nope…nope…those are some scary bitches.” Like that.
I had gastric sleeve surgery to reduce the size of my stomach, but it didn’t exorcise the demon/child. All of that mental bullshit is still between my ears.
There is definitely a wounded, scared creature in my head – and that creature wants me to medicate away my troubles with ice cream and cake and candy bars and Little Debbies. And pizza. That creature has been a dominant, driving force in my life for more than 20 years.
The mature adult in my head (shut up, you guys…there is one)…okay, maybe that’s not the best way to phrase it. Stop laughing. The sassy, kick-ass girl in my head is finally telling the demon/child to shut the hell up. It was the sassy, kick-ass girl who realized last year that if she kept trying to lose weight the same way she always did she was just going to keep failing. It was the sassy, kick-ass girl who had the courage to look in the mirror and face her fears. She put her pride aside and faced facts.
So I had gastric sleeve surgery and my stomach went from being able to hold a whole pizza to being able to hold 1/4 cup of food. Not pizza. Actually, most pizza takes up too much room after two or three bites unless it’s super crispy. Even then, I get almost no nutritional value from it at all…so unless it’s Round Table Pizza (a chain in southern California), it’s just not worth the effort. When I visit family in California, I make sure I stop by for a small slice. And it’s wonderful.
One thing I’ve learned post-op is that most of my old vices are simply not worth it. I have to make sure I get 90 grams of protein in every single day. That’s a challenge with a tiny tummy. As tempting as pizza is, it’s like my first few dating experiences: good at first, but I ultimate get nothing from it but a bad case of gas.
I still go to the vending machine at work, but only for bottled water. I pass by the other machines. I see Pop Tarts, donuts and Bugles out of the corner of my eye. I hear the demon/child in the back of my head. I don’t listen. Gastric sleeve surgery doesn’t prevent me from buying that crap. It doesn’t prevent me from eating that crap. I can eat anything I want to. I can’t eat very much of it, but I can still eat it. I didn’t wake up from surgery with a magic intolerance for sugar or fat. I just don’t eat it anymore.
If I feel temptation now I think back to November. I remember my week long pre-op diet of protein shakes, water, and sugar free jello. I remember being hungry all the time. I remember being tired…and scared of surgery. I remember wanting to throw in the towel a million different times. But I didn’t. Because I was done listening to the demon/child.
I didn’t go through surgery and all that pain in recovery (including the Wet Fart from Hell) to keep holding onto the same destructive habits. I can’t look at myself in the mirror now and tell myself it’s okay to eat crap every day and keep abusing myself with food. I have a world of support behind me between Hot Mess Hubby, my family and friends, my co-workers, my surgeon and his kick-ass staff, and all of you. If I fail now I have only myself to blame…and that’s just not going to happen.
From the moment I wake up, I’m thinking about what nutrition I’m going to put into my body. Nutrition. Not which pastry I’ll get at Starbucks or what ice cream I’m going to eat while watching tv that night. I get up, I make my protein shake, I enjoy it during the news. At work, it’s time for some Greek yogurt. For lunch? A little grilled chicken usually. Then more Greek yogurt…or some string cheese or almonds. Another protein shake when I get home. Then maybe some lean steak or some more chicken. Somewhere in there, I hit 90 grams of protein.
I still go out to dinner with Hot Mess Hubby or my friends. I still eat chocolate (either sugar free or dark). I keep a little bag of sugar free chocolates in my desk at work. I can’t taste the difference between those and the fully loaded real thing – so if I want a little taste of chocolate, that’s what I reach for. The lovely thing about sugar free candy is that eating more than one will bring on an episode of the Hershey squirts so bad that the fear of “blowing mud” in my beige dress pants keeps the demon/child in check. I mean…it’s generally frowned upon in the professional world to walk around the office with a poopy stain on the back of your pants…and I’m trying to get a promotion. I have to be smart about it, yo.
If I’m out to dinner at my favorite restaurant, I sometimes order dessert. Not always. Sometimes. I enjoy all three bites. That’s usually about what I can get down before I get that slightly burpy feeling that tells me I’m done. One more bite after that and I’ll yack up my whole dinner…and nobody wants to see that. I also occasionally dabble in potato temptation. Sometimes you just have to have a good spud. Well, now it’s more like a few bites of a good spud…but those few bites are goooood.
You know what, though? I’ve learned that I don’t need any more than that. I’m perfectly happy with only three bites of dessert…or a little bite of sugar free chocolate…or two buffalo wings. An occasional indulgence relieves the pressure. Even more enlightening, it feels good to make healthy decisions. Really good.
My stomach only holds 1/4 cup of food, but I can just as easily fill it with 1/4 cup of Oreos as I can 1/4 cup of grilled chicken. There’s nothing to stop me from eating crap all day if I want to. I just don’t want to. I’m tired of the demon/child. I want her to shut the hell up. I opted for surgery because I felt it was the only way to stop her.
And I was right. In 4 1/2 months I’ve gone from 383 pounds to 314 pounds. I’ve lost 69 pounds and a lot of emotional baggage. I’m off my blood pressure meds. I haven’t had a migraine since October…and I used to get one or two a month. I’m 15 pounds away from being in the 200’s for the first time in more than ten years.
The sassy, kick-ass chick has put her foot down. Balance is a wonderful thing.