Friday, July 13, 2012

Bariatric Betty fights habit & head hunger, stands up for Wendy

Last night I realized that my eating has taken a turn for the worse.  Since I returned from my low-activity vacation I realized that my calorie intake when I'm high-activity has probably been a little low.  So, I've made an effort to make sure that at almost 5 months post op I'm hitting at least 1000 calories every day, some days 1100 - 1200.  That's fine.  What isn't fine is that I was getting in those extra 150 - 200 calories at night (around 8pm).  And that's falling back into a bad habit. 

Last night I had eaten well all day, even having an afternoon snack.  I had a healthy dinner, and then two hours later ate 1/2 cup of low-fat ricotta with truvia, torani sugar free vanilla syrup, and rasberries.  Not a bad choice if I needed a snack.  But I didn't need it.  I WANTED it.  And to reinforce that point, as I ate my last two bites my pouch decided to let me know that it was NOT HAPPY. 

I cuddled with my son and my dog and felt bad over my upset stomach while I realized what I had done.  I had a Quest protein bar for a snack at the pool in the afternoon, so I didn't need more protein or more calories.  I ate something because it tasted good and my head hunger tricked me. 

I announced to my husband and kids that I overate, and resolved to blog about as well for accountability.  Tonight I will not eat again after dinner.  Today will be a better day.

I also had a VERY interesting conversation with my sons this week.  They were watching an ad for Wendy's. OK, I just had to check to see if they have Wendy's in Canada/ outside the U.S. - and while they do have a few, for those of you who aren't familiar with it;  Wendy's is a fast food/ hamburger restaurant that was founded by a funny, persistant, and driven overweight man named Dave Thomas.  He named the restaurant after his young daughter, Wendy and made a picture of her in braids their logo.  Dave passed several years ago, and recently Wendy has started showing up in the newer ads.  Wendy is middle-aged now, and overweight.  So my boys were watching TV and saw an ad come on for Wendy's.  Their commentary went something like this:

"Wow, Wendy doesn't look like Wendy (the logo)"
"Wendy ate too much Wendy's"
"Wendy only looked like Wendy (the logo) before her dad named the restaurant after her"
"Wendy's (the person) Dad shouldn't have made unhealthy food at Wendy's (the restaurant)"
"Wendy has not done it, you know... she hasn't gone to the hospital to take care of it and so now she's stuck like that."

This last comment was from my 9 year old, referring to his belief that Wendy needs to get gastric bypass. 

This was all a little upsetting to me.  As a morbidly obese person, I was judged by others and heard harsh comments and jokes made about me.  My sons are both overweight, and although their activity level has increased and their BMI is going down, they have both had other kids tell them that they're "fat".  While I don't feel like they were trying to make a mean-spirited joke about Wendy's weight, I was very surprised that they would think that a stranger's weight was anything they should be passing judgement on, as well as the fact that my younger son apparently thinks that gastric bypass is a simple fix that anyone overweight should do. 

So I engaged them.  I started by asking them "Why do you think people are overweight?" (Ate too much food, ate unhealthy food, didn't exercise enough... fair enough answers) and then ended up explaining that while those are most of the reasons people become overweight, there are LOTS of reasons why people STAY overweight.  I reminded them that I needed to figure out that part of the reason I had been obese most of my adult life was because I felt safer that way because I thought I was less likely to be attacked (again). I finally realized that my weight wasn't protecting me at all, it was just hurting me.  Until people figure out why they are doing what they are doing, they will have a very hard time trying to change it.  We can not possibly know what anyone else's reasons are for being overweight, but we shouldn't assume that bariatric surgery will work for everyone, because it won't.   They weren't very comfortable during this discussion (neither was I) and I don't have a problem with that.  Because they were judging Wendy, and now that they got called on it, I hope they remember that discomfort the next time they think about judging someone else. 


  1. I think society is too quick to judge weight problems whether too fat or too thin without knowing a person. It is the last seemingly accepted prejudice in our society. We know making fun of someone's race or cognitive abilities is just "wrong" but many still seem to think it is totally acceptable to comment on weight or looks like it's nothing. Thank you for having this uncomfortable but necessary conversation with your kids. I wish more parents had it then maybe things would change. Good luck on your journey! :)