Food Police After Gastric Bypass: Coping Strategies for Unwanted Feedback
There is something about being public with weight loss surgery that makes others believe they have permission to become volunteer “Food Police” monitoring our every bite when it comes to eating after gastric bypass. We can’t stop the constructive criticism of others, particularly when it comes to something as controversial as WLS. But we can arm ourselves with some effective coping skills.
Identify the motive: When my husband asks, “Are you sure you want to try that? ” his motive is genuine concern. He has seen me get sick and he hopes to help me avoid getting sick. In this case I can accept his policing with 먹튀폴리스 the kindness in which it is rendered. In the case of the skinny sister who said to her WLS sister, “I thought that surgery was supposed to make you stop eating and look at you with the food! ” her motive is to hurt and belittle.
It has taken time but these days if my husband mentions something I’m eating I am able to pause and consider his feedback. Today I can say, “You know, sweetheart, you are right. I don’t need to get sick tonight. ” This wasn’t easy at first but now it seems natural. As many of us struggle on the long road after WLS it is a good idea to have a few well-intentioned police to kindly help keep us on track. Find your supporters and let them know how they can be helpful because nobody should go this route alone.
In the case of skinny sister our friend could have acknowledged the comment saying “I appreciate your concern. It seems you have a misunderstanding about WLS. Would you like me to share with you how, with the help of surgery, I’ve changed my eating and lifestyle habits to improve my health? ” Chances are the sister doesn’t want to listen but it is clear the error is the sisters, not our friend who was eating some great lean protein.
While many will disagree, sometimes the best course of action is to ignore completely the comment or citation. I believe there are people who use policing to engage in a debate over the merits of WLS, over the personal fortitude of the WLS patient and simply want to antagonize someone who is doing the best they can to fight the disease of obesity with the best medical means available. Such people will not be persuaded to think well of WLS or the person who has it. They may be arrogant and feel it their superior right to criticize, often in front of others, the WLS patient. When i find myself pitted against this person I do anything possible to disengage from the moment. This could mean exiting the room, turning my attention away from the antagonist or deflecting it by saying, “I would love to talk about WLS with you at another time. ” The antagonist will bully and push but I will not engage myself in discussion. Six years ago I could not do this, but today I can.
There is something about being public with weight loss surgery that makes others believe they have permission to become volunteer “Food Police” monitoring every move when it comes to our eating. One of our community members told me her skinny sister actually asked her, “I thought that surgery was supposed to make you stop eating and look at you with the food! ” She was eating a small portion of poached chicken breast. Why the nerve! Poached chicken breast after WLS!
Another woman received a citation from the volunteer food patrol, she was eating a saltine cracker when she took her vitamins: “I thought it was against ‘The Rules’ to eat carbohydrates! You are really going to mess this thing up eating carbs. ” Really now! You know I’m a rule pusher and preach “protein first” all the time. But you know, sometimes having a saltine with the vitamins is the only way to avoid stomach upset and it is not going to mess-up the surgery.
The first thing psychologists will tell us is we give others permission to patrol our behavior. In many cases this is probably true. When i first had WLS my self-esteem was so low I had the confidence of a doormat. So my ability to defend my WLS and my eating behavior allowed others to monitor and comment. This did nothing to buoy my spirit or boost my confidence. In fact, having been a sneak eater, I continued through much of the weight loss phase to eat in private out of sight from the critiques. Today I will ignore or defend my WLS and my behavior, but six years ago, I was incapable of either ignoring or defending myself and I took every comment to heart. Rough way to go, don’t you think?
Another reason, I believe, that others feel it appropriate to police us is the fact that we chose the presumed “easy way out”. There is a certain envy, particularly from those who are obese and dieting conventionally, that compels people to judge. Sometimes it almost feels they are hopeful we will “fail” at this easy way out. By pointing out something they perceive to be a violation of the surgery they can inflict feelings of failure upon us, which does what? Makes us feel like failures. Have you experienced that? Our community member, eating the poached chicken breast said she felt “guilty” for eating! Mission accomplished by her sister, the self-appointed food police.
Finally, I do believe there are well meaning people patrolling us, offering feedback because they genuinely care about us and our success with WLS. Sometimes their patrolling may come across as criticism because we are sensitive, but also because they do not know how to offer it in a constructive manner. My husband, and you all know I adore the man to pieces and he is my biggest supporter, has sometimes watched me eat something and asked, “Are you sure you want to try that? ” He is sincere and genuine with this feedback and I know this. But a little part of me resents it too and I want to scream back, “I know what I can eat and cannot eat! ” But you know, he’s also been the one to get me through numerous dumping/vomiting episodes and his concern is to avoid that. He is giving feedback for a valid reason in the most sensitive manner possible and I appreciate him for that.