The 5 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves After Weight Loss Surgery

Usually I’m not one to stir up controversy especially in the weight loss surgery world but sometimes you just have to crack the closet door open and let the skeletons inside see the light of day.

Normally I’m a middle of the road kind of person. If someone expresses their view point on a particular subject I can usually understand where they are coming from even if I don’t agree. This is even true about the world of nutrition. Everyone thinks that their “diet/way of eating” is the best and, when asked, they will list the many reasons why it’s true. Any disagreement simply brings on countless rounds of why your wrong and they are right. And back and forth is goes. Not much is actually accomplished by these types of conversations which is why I avoid them. This is also the main reason why I avoid posting to many of the weight loss surgery boards and forums. People believe what they want to and fighting about it is a waste of time and energy. With that being said, here are some of the biggest lies (at least to me) I hear both pre and post op weight loss surgery patients tell others as well as themselves.

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1). 100 (or however many) pounds lost FOREVER!!!!

This has got to be one of the most exasperating things to hear especially as time goes by. Yes, every single one of us was so incredibly excited after surgery. Yes, we were all absolutely positive that we would NEVER regain. The newbies proudly post how many pounds they have lost FOREVER on Facebook, their blogs, in forums, etc. And they should be proud. It’s damn hard to lose weight and even harder to keep it off. When someone talks or posts about regain they are treated like dirt by those who are still on their newbie weight loss high. The newbies (and some times long timers) talk about how regain will NEVER happen to them.

To me this is the number one lie we tell ourselves because, whether we want to admit it or not, regain of some sort will happen to the vast majority of us. Very few escape any sort of regain whether it’s simply a few pounds or the entire amount that was initially lost. Before you look down upon one of your fellow WLS members stop and think. If you really were able to lose and keep off the weight in the past then why did you have weight loss surgery? You did it for the same reason we all did. Because all the hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of pounds we have lost again and again over the years never stayed gone FOREVER. It was a struggle then and will continue to be a struggle for most. If you think your the exception to the rule please come back in a few years and let us all know how it’s going. I hope that you truly are the exception.

2). I can eat whatever I want in moderation.

I’ve written about this whole moderation thing before. It’s a trap. One that is happily perpetuated by those selling many of the foods that were our downfall in the past. Telling yourself that it’s OK to eat these same foods, just in smaller amounts, will only set yourself up for failure. If you find yourself using the whole “I can eat this particular food in moderation” line perhaps it might be time to ask yourself a few things. Will eating this little bit trigger a stronger craving for even more? Are you really only eating a small amount but doing so several times a day? Do you feel guilty after eating this food and use the moderation thing so it doesn’t seem so bad? If you’ve answered yes to these questions then perhaps you may want to avoid this food because there’s a good chance that the moderation thing is being used to justify eating something that we should avoid.

3). I’ll never eat (insert name of food or drink here) again!

Oh the number of times I’ve heard that one before. Heck, I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve said it myself. I swore that once I had surgery I would NEVER eat certain things again. For some items it took years before I tried them and others it was a matter of months. If you believe that you are rocking this whole weight loss surgery thing better than anyone else before and that you will NEVER touch whatever again then you have just fallen into lie number three. You will eat this food again. Maybe not right away but eventually, at some point in time, that food will pass through your lips. Trust me on this one. This even includes the foods that make you sick or cause dumping. Rather than deny that it will happen start thinking about what to do when it does occur. How will you handle the situation? What can you do to prevent this food from becoming an issue? Why am I eating a food that I swore I would never eat? Boredom? Anger? Sadness? Whatever the reason it will be far more helpful to yourself in the long run to work out the answer instead of telling yourself it will never happen again. This type of thinking usually leads to feelings of failure which snowballs into a whole lot of other things.

4). It’s not the calories that make you gain weight it’s the (insert your favorite evil macronutrient such as fat or carbs here).

Yes.

Yes, it is the calories.

I don’t care how many people have written books or blogs telling you you’ll lose the weight and keep it off by avoiding carbs/fat/sugar/whatever. In the beginning you probably ate the evil food items and were consuming FAR more calories that you even realized. People have no idea how many calories they are truly eating. Study after study has shown that we grossly underestimate how much we are actually eating. When you begin by cutting out the offending item you are actually reducing your caloric intake. I don’t care if cutting carbs and increasing fat keeps you feeling fuller for longer. If your feel full for a longer period of time and end up eating less then you are still reducing the calories. I find this sort of thinking very prevalent especially in the low carb community. Hey, I’m all for low carb and try to eat that way myself. But eating 4,000 calories of meat, cheese and nuts is still going to cause weight gain even if you’ve eaten less than 50 grams of carbohydrates in a day.

5). One or two drinks won’t hurt me.

This one deserves a special mention. For most, alcohol is not an issue after weight loss surgery. But there are growing numbers of people for which this has suddently become a problem. I’ve personally known several people, some who drank lightly before surgery and some who didn’t drink at all, who developed serious issues around alcohol once they had surgery. Weight loss surgery changes how food and alcohol are digested. I’ve been told by those who have had issues that the effects of the alcohol hit quickly so it doesn’t take as many drinks to get a buzz. The surgery also causes the feeling to pass even quicker than before surgery so you drink more to keep that same feeling.  If drinking was a coping mechanism for you in the past, even if it was something as simple as a nightly glass of wine to relax, you may want to rethink taking a drink. If you think you may have developed a problem with alcohol since having surgery please do not feel ashamed or embarrassed. Please seek out help. This is a serious issue and one doctor’s are becoming more aware of as the number of people having bariatric surgery are increasing.

How about you? Agree? Disagree? Think there are more lies that we tell ourselves? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

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2 Responses to The 5 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves After Weight Loss Surgery

  1. Hi Penny. I always love your straight forward posts. You are very spot on with your post today. It’s so important to live your own journey. And honesty with your self is the most important thing. Nothing is forever and our bodies change. We need to continue to give our bodies what they need whether we are pre, during or post op WLS. It’s quite a journey. I’m still living it almost 13 years out. It’s a daily commitment for me and I too have learned there is no magic way….. it has to be your way and it has to be REAL. thanks!
    Tracy @ My Tiny Tank.net recently posted..It’s OK to StruggleMy Profile

    • Hi Tracy,

      It is quite a journey. About the only thing I can compare it to is growing up and the teen years. I can’t remember how many times I thought I knew it all and my parents knew nothing. I was never going to do the same things they did, make the same mistakes, treat my kids the way they did, etc. Somewhere along the line it seemed like everything I said I would never do I eventually did. Before we have WLS it’s like we are reliving our teen years. We say lots of stuff and make lots of plans. Then life happens and you have to work things out for yourself. The reason why I enjoy reading various WLS blogs is to see what is working for each individual. It’s amazing how many different ways there are to achieve results. The one thing I have come to realize is the only way to make it long term is to discover how to work it into your own life. Following someone else’s rules never seems to work for long. I hope to eventually be able to communicate this sort of thing to my future patients once I begin my career in the nutrition field. As always, thanks for commenting. I really do love to hear what works for others.