Overexposed: A Self-Love Project.

Overexposed: My Relationship with Food.

It’s one thing to call this lifestyle a “good one”. You see the transformation photos on social media and you think, “wow, they made such a good lifestyle change! They look so good now!” What no one tells you behind those photos, though, is the fact that the journey to get there is exhausting.

Hi, my name is Liz, and my relationship with food has drastically changed since having gastric bypass surgery.

I was always a foodie. I loved to snack on things, and I used to really enjoy my meals. There were so many things I loved to eat, and although they were bad for me, I still indulged in my guilty pleasures and ate them because they were really good and I just wanted them.

The act of eating (as I’m learning) is an experience all on its own. The longer you sit there and eat the food that’s on your plate, the better experience you have. I feel like that’s why buffets are just literally the greatest thing ever; you get how much food you want, and you can always go back if you want more and you eat until you’re absolutely full.

I can’t even finish a small bowl of tuna without feeling extremely full, to the point where I can either get nauseous and throw up, or just feel stuck in fullness.

It’s been one month since my surgery, and this month has taught me that there are going to be times where I introduce myself to food again and it’s a trial and error. I’m either going to tolerate it perfectly fine, or I’m going to sit here and just wait for the food to come back up because my stomach can’t handle it. I found myself puking a lot more these days because of these trial and errors, realizing that some of my favorite foods are now some of the foods that I can’t handle anymore.

It truly makes the whole eating process an anxiety process rather than an enjoyable one, and it could be truly frustrating at times.

I get anxious because I don’t want to get sick, obviously, but I also have to know what’s good for me and what isn’t. Like, I can’t be eating yogurts and soup for the next couple of months because I’m too scared to eat.

I think my worst fear is me just not eating or drinking anymore because I just don’t feel thirsty or hungry. I also hate to think that the reason why weight has been pretty stagnant for the past couple of weeks is because I’m not eating the right things. But like, I’m barely eating at all, so like–

Anyway. My relationship with food has definitely been different since surgery and I’m not sure when or if I’ll ever have a positive relationship with it again.

It’s more than just a physical reaction. It’s also sitting around my family at the dinner table seeing them eat all the foods I once enjoyed that I can’t have anymore. It’s seeing that those around me can have food that I wish I was having with them. It’s seeing the delicious food venues and smelling all the amazing food being cooked and not being able to fully enjoy it because I get full way too quickly or it’s simply something that gets me sick. It’s also such a major mental thing, and dealing with depression as it is, I’m afraid this anxious part of my journey will get me depressed.

I sometimes regret getting this surgery when I’m sitting on my bathroom floor feeling like my insides are in a knot. I sit there and think back to my life pre-surgery, missing the girl I was before because she ate what she wanted to eat and what made her happy. I know that thought is so temporary and it goes away as soon as I feel better or when I’m wearing clothes that didn’t properly fit me since 2019. It’s knowing that in a couple of months, I’ll be fully healed, and I will know my body much better than I do.

Because, let’s be honest: something that is out of your control is always hard to first adjust to. When I first was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, the first couple of months after that were some of my worst months due to the fact that I just didn’t know how to adjust to it in my everyday life. It took therapy, talking it out, and learning more about myself and my mental health to not allow it to define me or make my life a living hell.

So while things are a little weird and shaky and I have my bad days, I know I will get through this. I just hope it happens soon!

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