To Be Perfectly Honest…

Today will be one of my not so pretty posts. Even though I’m posting a pretty good picture of me.

April has been a really tough month emotionally. My weight loss has slowed considerably. I traveled out of town three weekends out of the month, and never was fully prepared for all the meals that I should have planned and brought along food for. Being unprepared brings temptations. And this month I’ve fallen prey to several temptations.

What have I eaten, you ask? I’m not telling you this so you can criticize me, I’m telling you so I can be honest with myself. I succumbed to pieces of Easter candy. I’ve eaten some full-fat ice cream instead of frozen yogurt. I’ve sipped on soda a few times. I’ve snacked on Cheetos Puffs a few times (even though I know they’re useless crap with no nutritional value). My portions haven’t been monstrous, obviously since I can’t really consume more than 3 ounces at once, but I know I’m off the wagon.

Most gastric bypass patients deal with a condition called “dumping,” where condition where ingested foods bypass the stomach too rapidly and enter the small intestine mostly undigested. This causes nausea, vomiting, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, dizziness and fatigue. It usually happens after eating high fat or high sugar foods. But as far as I can tell, I’ve never dumped. My body hasn’t equipped me with the mechanism to make me violently ill if I eat rubbish. I must be crazy for wishing my body did. I seem  to only get sick eating “healthy stuff” like eggs and chicken.

So yeah….bad food choices. In actuality, I’d say that 98% of what I eat is right on track, and 2% is “bad.” I’ve come up with all sorts of excuses why I’m sabotaging my weight loss like this, especially so early in the game. And the biggest source of anger and frustration is all the damn food advice people give me. It messes with me every time.

I’ve always been a pleaser – I want to make people happy by doing what they others ask me to do. But in the case of food advice as a weight loss surgery patient, it’s infuriating. I’ve been tempted to go back to people whose advice has been a catalyst for something bad happening and say “See what you did to me!!” For instance, a certain person has bugged me over and over to try eating a certain food. I had already had a hard time tolerating it, but I knew they wouldn’t get off my back until I ate it and reported back. So I finally ate it, and I violently threw it up. I ran back into the bathroom multiple times to wretch, and I even started vomiting blood. It wasn’t pretty. And the whole time, I was mad at this person who had so persistently advised me to eat it. Honestly, I know I should have stuck to my guns and ignored the advice. I should have been stronger. But I’m feeling weak and vulnerable these days, and now that I’ve had well over 100 people give me advice, it’s really messed with my head.

Unless you are a doctor or nutritionist – PLEASE do not give me advice on food. The only exceptions to this rule are 1) If you have PERSONALLY been a weight loss surgery patient (not your friend, not your family member) AND/OR 2) if I PERSONALLY ask you for advice. However well meaning you are, it is NOT helpful. I have an extremely limited amount of things that I can eat, and can only eat very limited quantities. I need to expand my palate when MY DOCTOR recommends it, NOT YOU. When I get food advice, it confuses me. I makes me want to start to push the limits of what’s right for me to eat. It makes me want to binge on junk food. Often the advice makes me cry. Sometimes it just makes me not want to eat at all, and fasting is NOT good for me at the stage.

Secretly in my head, I want to tell people who give me food advice, “Is it important enough for you that I eat ____ that it could risk our friendship? Okay then….SHUT UP!”

I think it’s time to go into counseling again. I need to grow a thicker skin.


  1. Hang in there Nicole and follow your instincts you know what is right.

  2. Heather Rains says:

    Thinking of you through this. I haven’t been through what you have…yet. But I know that you’re an inspiration for posting what you did. Therapy is the best thing from what I hear, and hopefully you can grasp the thicker skin…You and I are a lot alike…I’m a people pleaser as well. I always make sure that everyone is happy before me, and often push myself onto the back burner. For once I’m doing something for myself. Thank you so much for posting this, though! It’s something that I needed to hear!

  3. Be careful girl! I wouldn’t touch soda till I was a year out. Even now I water it down to get rid of the bubbles and make sure it’s diet. I know how you feel though. I had ‘dumping’ but it’s kind of worn off now. I knew it would but wish it would stay forever. Try to hold off on all that for now till you’re farther out. (People will probably say i’m a bad bariatric patient but you can’t each chicken and broccoli forever). And just have 1 piece of candy. Not like half the bag (Like I use to do). I’m always scared i’ve stretched out my stomach. I’m the most paranoid person about gaining weight. Feel free to add me from your personal page if you need some support! I know I could use some as well! People around me have NO clue what I went/am going though. Good luck and don’t give up!! You will have tons of weightloss stalls. It’s totally normal. I had 2 months the first year where I lost nothing.

  4. This is awesome. I’m rethinking advice I’ve given to a variety of people (none who have had weight-loss surgery, though), and it makes me wonder how often we try to “help” people when we really don’t have the facts/knowledge we need.

    Thanks for your honesty!

  5. I’m sorry you’re gong though this. I understand. I had bypass surgery on March 16th. I came home from the hospital on March 18th. My husband picked me up from the hospital and my sister in law (husband’s sister) watched our kids. Sister in Law had bypass surgery with my same surgeon 10 years ago. When I walked into the house, I noticed the dozen chocolate cupcakes and the bowl of frosting she’d brought to our house that morning. REALLY?!?!?! The excuse was “they’re for the kids” I have 2 kids, not 12 and they are 3 & 5 they don’t need a bowl frosting and a dozen cupcakes especially on the day I get out of the hospital after bypass surgery. In the past 6 weeks she’s stopped by with cupcakes and candy for the kids several times. My husband finally told her to stop (he’s having bypass surgery on June 1st). She pushes me to eat eggs and cottage cheese all the time (I HATE cottage cheese and so far eggs have not agreed with me more often than not since surgery).

    It’s tough because we went to the same Dr. But in the last 10 years some things have changed and the Dr. has changed the advise and proticols in her office a bit. So SIL feels like she’s giving the right advise, but the Dr. has changed the “rules” since her surgery.

    Be strong, follow you Dr’s instructions and end the discussion with anyone else on your food intake and choices.

    Good luck!

  6. Lucky Red Hen says:

    I applaud your honesty! Here’s my advice for thicker skin… anticipate the things people might say to you (you already know some) and come up with several replies until you hone them enough to have a polite yet firm response that puts them in their place, let’s you remain strong, and saves your relationship. Repeat your reply if they insist. Eventually they’ll get the picture and you get to feel pride knowing you’re sticking up for yourself!

    For example: I had some people ask me about a souring relationship. It was none of their business and talking to them wouldn’t help the relationship. Preplaying the possible questions and answers before I got them gave me confidence that I could handle the situation without harming that persons feelings (by saying, “It’s none of your business.”) Some of my responses I prepared: Who did you hear that from? Why do you ask? What do you know about the situation? Turning the conversation around on them usually got them to stop. It wasn’t their business, so I kept them out of it from my end.

    Fingers crossed for you to gain the strength and tools you need for success 🙂

  7. I don’t think there is anything wrong with eating small amounts of “junk” as long as it doesn’t make you sick. In fact, I think that part of what causes weight control issues is strict restriction. Making certain things verboten tends to set off a psychological problem that causes people to alternate between bingeing and restriction. If your surgery sets you up for a lifetime of modest treat and snack consumption, then it serves you better than if it sets you up for placing some foods off limits entirely. In the real world, we will always be faced with a variety of food which both nourishes and amuses the senses. The trick is not to eschew the latter, but to consume it mindfully and moderately while focusing on the former.

    I think that your food choices aren’t the problem, but rather your desire to people please. This is likely a reflection of low self-esteem and a desire to get people to like you by doing what they want you to do. I can’t speak for you, but it was the case for me that I felt that my value was so low because I was fat that the only way to get people to like me was to show I was a much “nicer” person than anyone else. They’d forgive my fatness if I was cooperative, kind, and good to them. While I think being a good person is important, it does not mean handing control of your life over to others so they will view you as likable. You are likable as you are. I’d work on these issues rather than fixing perceived “food sins”.

  8. Hey Nicole — don’t bang yourself up too much. There’s always a silver lining/glass half-full, in that:

    – You blogged about this challenge as a way to get it off your chest. That’s good. A lot of times when we’re not feeling well, sitting down and writing it out, and even sharing it with others, helps provide some sense of relief/catharsis.

    – This is a very good educational post for others to learn what a challenge it can still be, even after surgery. This is real proof that just because a person gets WLS doesn’t mean the weight just drops off magically on its own.

    Based on what you’ve written, I think you’re probably thinking about finding out ways to tackle the problems, right? Like when you knew you were going to some social engagement, and you wound up making bad food choices? Maybe instead of just keeping records in your food journal, you can expand on your entries to talk about how you wound up eating the things you did. Or perhaps you’re doing that already?

    If someone suggests a specific food for you, you can always bounce it off your nutritionist or doctor first. That might be better than trying it even if you know it won’t work for you, and then get sick.

    If you aren’t liking what you’re eating now, though, I hope you can find things that are emotionally satisfying but yet are nutritious and won’t be such a downer for you.

    It’s a journey. Take a look at your own banner graphic and the red traffic sign you put on there! You’re on a journey. It’s not always a 6-lane highway. Keep it up and keep on traveling!

  9. I really appreciate this post. I wish people would keep their food advice to themselves all the time. Everyone thinks they are an expert. Whether or not you’ve had surgery, when you’re trying to eat a certain way or follow a certain plan, someone coming a long and trying to tell you to do something different is annoying and derailing. I just think it’s rude. Wait until someone asks you before you tell them what you think they should eat. It’s very personal!

  10. Great post! I’m bummed I didn’t win your Breathing Space pass… I think we’d be friends. I have no idea what you are going through and it sounds terrible! Food is so much more than *food*. Food is love, food is hate, food is family, food is loneliness. I can’t imagine someone telling me to eat 3 ounces including what that 3 ounces could or couldn’t be. What doesn’t kill you makes your strong, and this my friend, is going to make your stronger.

  11. Have you looked at the Thinner Times forum? That message board was really helpful to me for the first year. Lots of people going through the same things – stalls, frustrations, emotions, etc. I still lurk there and post occasionally. It helps to know that my journey (including temptations, set-backs, stalls, and successes) was pretty normal. It also helped me because sometimes I needed a little reality smack-down when I was getting off-track.

    For the record, I know very few fellow GBS patients who actually dump after the first few months. Most people don’t. I tell people that “I can’t eat sugar” and “I can’t eat bread,” but really, I can. They made me sick for the first couple of months, but that was it. I don’t get sick from them now. (I still get sick from grease though.) I just avoid them like the plague (I try to eat low carb – lots of protein and veggies, no bread, no rice, very little sugar, etc.) (Actually I have no . I tell everyone (including my husband) they make me sick so that I’ll have to avoid them. It helps keep me on track. And I tell myself that too. In a way it is true. When I get off track and eat junk, I feel sort of crappy. Not sick, but just – off.

    I think that’s the biggest misconception about WLS, that the journey isn’t really “hard” and we didn’t really “earn” our weight loss, because we didn’t need willpower. We DO still need willpower. We DO still need restraint. It IS still hard. (Which sucks, but – it’s reality.) They’ve found that there really is no calorie malabsorption. It’s still about calories in and calories out, and it’s still possible to snack all day long if we want to.

    So the people who think this isn’t still a rough journey can kiss my a**.

    Hang in there Nicole. You can do this. You ARE doing this. Yes, it will be slow and steady, but if you stay on track, it will happen.


  12. Just saw some GREAT pictures of you from Breathing Space. You are looking great. How are you feeling about things now that it’s been a few days since posting this? I hope the weekend was just what you needed. You really do look great. Take care. M.

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