In my opinion, getting and staying well is about more than losing weight and keeping off the pounds. Portion control and drinking your 8 to 9 glasses of fluid per day will certainly help. But my journey and experience has really convinced me that it’s a “head job.”
Sure, you are evaluated by a psychologist to assess your readiness for surgery. Unfortunately, it’s a cursory examination that takes a snapshot in time but does not even scratch the surface. Most people I know have issues stemming from years ago or recently that are unresolved and can surely sabotage the strongest person’s resolve.
Psychology Today cites “Other studies have shown that people prone to emotional eating; eating in response to depression or anxiety, are also more likely to regain weight. There is research suggesting a link between childhood abuse and obesity.”
One woman, I know, whom I will call Geraldine, had a serious drinking problem before surgery and was generally in denial about her addiction. Unfortunately, she became prone to what is called “transfer addiction”* and substituted even more alcohol for food.
Clearly, she along with others, including myself, benefit greatly by adding a professional counselor or coach to our team.
Obesity is a disease and not a character or personality flaw. But it’s incumbent upon us to work through any life issues we have in order to stave off weight regain, commit to exercise, identify triggers and generally adapt to our new lifestyles. It’s essential that we add our behaviors and attitudes to the mix.
Psychological health has been critical to my wellness journey. At various times during my journey, I have been faced with challenges that might have thrown me for a loop had I not had someone on which to bounce things.
In my travels, I have encountered my fair share of folks who have regained their weight and feel ashamed. My weight has fluctuated as well. Let’s face it, after 18 months the post-surgery weight loss honeymoon is over. I try to get to the “why”, which could be medical as well. I’m no doctor, but my surgeon, Dr. Abkin, told me that lots of folks regain the weight because they are too ashamed to talk to a professional about the challenge. Goes back to that old need for perfectionism.
Start with your surgeon if you don’t have a mental health professional, she or he can put you in the right direction or speak to your family physician if need be.
There are many types of specialties available: psychiatrists, psychologist, social workers, 12 –step staff, ministers, yogis and the like. You make the choice based on whom you are most comfortable. There are even on-line resources such as www.betterhelp.com/. Other resources are: The American Psychological Association (APA) www.apa.org/, www.mentalhealth.org/, psychcentral.com/resources, to name a few.
If coaching and/or inspiration is what you need, frequent my site for a roadmap of success pillars and resources from a person who is on the journey with you and has a passion for helping others. Also, for more serious concerns check in with your surgeon or bariatric nurse practitioner as well in case your challenge might be medical. For one on one, you can contact Colleen Cook at the Bariatric Support Centers International, www.bsciresourcecenter.com, ObesityHelp.com