Overexposed: A Self-Love Project.

Overexposed: Biggest Anxiety on my WLS Journey.

Four months. Four months since I got bariatrics surgery and in total lost 55 pounds.

I’ve been documenting this process and journey for the last 5 months; I started about a month before I had the surgery, and continued to do so after surgery and here we are. I’ve written about some of the major highs of this process and how much healthier I’ve been feeling since then, but I’ve also not been shy to talk about some of the lows that not may people will talk about, and i still think that it’s important to talk about these things.

This post is about a low that I’ve been experiencing and been worried about, and I wonder just how many WLS patients have dealt with the same struggles or have had a similar mindset like me.

Hi, my name is Liz, and I’ve been worried about the future of my eating habits.

In a nutshell, I’ve officially hit that mark in my journey where my doctors don’t need to hold my hand as much as they did before, which means it’s now completely up to me to keep up my eating habits and making sure I am getting the nutrition I need. For the most part, things have been pretty normal and nothing major has changed within my diet, until I came down with a cold.

When I got sick two weeks ago, I started to realize that I felt more hungry than usual and I was able to keep down more food than I could’ve in awhile. I was beginning to get nervous; I didn’t understand why all of a sudden, I was able to eat more than usual and not stay as full as I used to prior to getting sick. I was nervous to believe that maybe my body was now getting used to eating more and that I wasn’t as scared to puke if I overate anymore.

I was afraid to think that if I kept this mindset that I was able to eat more (like unhealthy things I should avoid) and eventually get sick, all I could do is just puke it out and blame it on the unwillingness to keep it down. Again, it’s a mindset I don’t want to end up having, and I hope that my mental health doesn’t get to a place where I think that’ll be okay to do.

I’m afraid that even if I eat more than I’m used to, I could eventually expand my stomach, which again is something that can eventually happen if your body gets used to holding in more food. When I was sick, I was able to eat without getting sick and still get pretty hungry pretty quickly. I was getting worried that a.) I was now eating and expanding my stomach which can possibly result in me gaining the weight back, and b.) I was actually eating normally than I’m used to but considered it to be a bad thing so I would try to cut back and eat small, despite if I was still hungry or not.

I guess I was getting nervous that in the future, I’m likely to get an eating disorder because of my newfound food anxiety since surgery, and I wonder if many people who’ve had this surgery felt this way at least once in their journey, or have sadly been diagnosed with an eating disorder after having surgery.

I don’t want it to get to a point where I think I’m eating too much when in reality, I’m eating just the right amount. I don’t want to keep looking at the scale and judge my stagnant weight as a failure. I don’t want to punish myself into thinking that I’m a failure because my journey isn’t what it was a couple of months ago.

In a way, this 4-month checkpoint is more so a start to the second step of my journey. Now I definitely have to limit my “bad food” intake to as little as possible because it’s time for me to actually put some work in. I need to do some exercises. I need to meal prep and be more cautious about what I eat. I can’t have this mind where I’m like “oh, lemme see if I can have this” to find out that I can and begin to indulge in the bad habit. I can’t keep thinking that the weight is just going to keep coming off without me actually being proactive and not doing things to keep the weight loss going. Yes, the weight is still coming off, but it’s not going to be like how it was when I was just a month into my post-op and the weight was just stripping itself off me. I now have to stop thinking that someone will hold my hand and tell me what to do when really, I’ve had just that for the first three months.

I’m just trying to not let myself go down this rabbit hole where my food anxiety gets so bad, I get diagnosed with an eating disorder. Again, with my weekly therapy sessions and just having people around me to talk to about my concerns and worries, I know I’ll have better control in what I do with my body.

To those who have been with me throughout this journey, I sincerely thank you all for being here and comforting me when I’ve felt lost, confused, and alone in the process. This process very much feels like grad school; being the only person I knew who went through it, I pretty much had to learn and experience everything on my own and in the process, developed an immense amount of anxiety due to the certainty of the outcomes. I am grateful that I’m able to talk to my family and friends and get some support for this uncertain and new journey.

Until then, here’s to another month on this journey.

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