Who Is This Guy? - The Blog

Welcome to our blog about food addiction, obesity, gastric bypass surgery and of course, Who Is This Guy? ... the book

Understanding the Medical, Social and Psychological Impacts to Obesity

 

The medical impact on your body when you are obese is extraordinary.  You are at extremely high risk for serious illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer to name a few.  At best, your quality of life will suffer because of these diseases, at worst, they can cause death.

 

Social impacts to obesity are just as devastating.  I speak from personal experience when I tell you that it is most certainly humiliating to go to a movie theater and not be able to sit in the seat to watch the show.  I still remember having to stand in the back of the theater because I couldn’t fit into the seat.  Another experience that caused me emotional pain was going to a restaurant and having to ask for a chair without arms and pray that it was strong enough to hold me.  Airplane travel was also a nightmare.  I always felt embarrassed by infringing on the space of the passenger sitting next to me.  The feelings that you are forced to deal with play havoc with your self-esteem and your self-worth.  It creates anxiety which ultimately leads to depression.

 

The emotional or psychological impact to obesity is very much linked to the social impact.  When you are constantly fighting depression and anxiety, you have no desire to go anywhere and you have no energy to do anything.  In my new book, “Who Is This Guy?” I address all these issues and share the events that brought me to Dr. Forse for help, which ultimately led to my success.  I found out the hard way, you can’t do it alone and you can’t even begin to hope for success unless you deal with the big picture.  In my next blog, I’ll share some information from my book that might be helpful.  If you are interested in reading it, it is available on Amazon.com. 

 

I hope you’ll share your experiences with me and let me know how you deal with them.  Maybe I can help point you in the right direction.        

 

 

 

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Underlying Issues

Dr. Forse, who is the surgeon who performed my gastric by-pass surgery in January 2011, insists that all gastric by-pass patient's need to become aware of and address their underlying issues. Dr Forse goes on to say that there are always underlying issues for bariatric surgery candidates, that is to say anyone with a BMI index ( body mass index) that's over 40 and who's tried diligently to lose weight and has ultimately failed, there is always something underneath- something psychological- that needs to be dealt with. Without getting to the root of and dealing with those issues, even bariatric surgery will not always be successful.

I am in total agreement with Dr Forse that long term success for a bariatric patient essentially requires three primary disciplines.  First, a restriction of calories along with an understanding of what and when to eat. Second, lifestyle changes such as exercise and physical activity and third, the patient needs to identify and and understand how to deal with their underlying issues. This is why diets alone don't work.  Diets are doomed to fail for a patient who ignores the psychological component of why they overeat.

Personally, I am ashamed to admit that it is only now that Dr Forse's words are sinking in to my thick skull.  He has been telling me this for quite some time, but it is only recently that I "got it" and went to see a psychologist.  I made the appointment, in part to search for a clinical diagnosis for the book that Dr Forse and I intend to write.  I thought it was time to verify my self-diagnosis of obsessive compulsive personality disorder whih, I believed showed up as an inability to moderate much of my behavior, especially eating.  I thought I was just wired differently that others and needed to learn to live with that.  I am grateful to Dr Forse for being so patient with me and moving me in the right direction toward identifying my underlying issues. I was amazed at how wrong I was in my self diagnosis.

 

More to come on this subject in my next blog as we learn about the traits that drive me to distraction and consume more of my energy than the should.  For now it is safe to say that I am encouraged by the information that I am gathering.  Sixty two years old and I am still learning who I am and what makes me tick.  Fascinating.

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Trying to figure me out

For fifty years I tried to figure out why I could not control my eating.  Early on, I felt that it was because I was weak and lacked the discipline and self control that others had that enabled them to eat in moderation.  For quite some time I thought that I was born with more fat genes than most people and was just inclined to put on weight easily.  I saw myself as big boned, thought I had a slow metabolism and a bigger frame than others.  There was no question that I ate more than most people and that I ate an unhealthy diet, but I had to keep trying to rationalize it in my mind and come up with a reason for my problem.

It has taken a while, but I have made a lot of progress in the never ending pursuit of trying to figure me out.  In the past ten years I have come a long way.  I now know that I am not big boned and that my metabolism works the way it is supposed to work and that my frame is a normal size.  The problem is that I have a food addiction, or as I prefer to see it, an obsessive compulsive eating disorder.  When I allow myself to consume one of the trigger foods, I lose control and the cravings push me to overeat, which is when the struggles begin.  And then the race to see which behavior, controlled eating or out of control eating, will prevail.

I now know that this will happen to me every time I let myself have one of the trigger foods.  In my case, sugar, and especially sugar in the form of  chocolate, is my biggest enemy.  I am not forced to have these foods.  I am exposed to them visually whether in a store, a restaurant or at someone's home, and it is completely my choice whether I have them or not.  When I fool myself into thinking that one little taste won't hurt, I always, and I mean always, regret it.

The key to success when this happens is to get back into my comfort zone as soon as possible.  I need to be eating foods that I like and that make me feel full but don't trigger the cravings that cause me to overeat at best, and to binge, at worst.  I know the pattern well.  I drive myself crazy because for some reason, when things are going well, I will foolishly test my mettle again and see if the results will be different this time.  They never are.  So, I ask myself and anyone out there who may be experiencing the same problem, to share your insight.  Why do I keep repeating this same pattern?  I can't figure it out.

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Fear of Getting Hurt in the Gym

A major element in the continued success of managing my weight and eating habits is my exercise program, which, as I've mentioned before, is self written.  I am as ridiculous about getting to the gym and performing my scheduled exercise program as I am about the eating program itself.  As always, I break my program into 13 week segments.  Over the past several years I have pre-habbed (prepared for surgery) and rehabbed from three shoulder surgeries and a bilateral knee replacement surgery.  I have worked through various ailments such as stiff necks, sore backs, wrist pain, forearm tendonitis, pinched nerves in the thumb, hamstring pulls and other problems with my feet and ankles.  Each and every time, I have been able to make adjustments at the gym to my grip, gait or the level of weight I use, to find a way to keep going until I have worked out the aches and pains and the problem disappears.  I find that I feel better and the ailment improves more quickly if I stick with my program and continue to use the affected joints or muscles. 

About five or six weeks ago, I suddenly developed a problem that, at first, I thought was a hip problem. I have never had a problem with my hip before.  I tried working through it for a couple of weeks and when it didn't get any better but, in fact, got worse, I made an appointment to see my doctor and he scheduled an x-ray and an exam on my hip.  I told the Orthopedic doctor that it seemed to move from the hip to the lower back to the glute muscle and sometimes to two areas at the same time.  He said the good news was, the x-ray showed that I did not have a problem with the hip but that it was also the bad news because now I need an MRI to see if it is a pinched nerve, a disc problem or something else.

However, I am still going to the gym.  My workouts are less intense due to the restrictions I must impose on myself to minimize the resulting pain caused by the workout.  I feel pain for most of the day after my morning workout, which is something I've never experienced before.  I try to adjust my schedule and not go to the gym on Friday if I am playing golf that day(again, a new adjustment to my schedule) because the combination of exercising and golf causes me severe back pain.

As always, I am fearful of any changes in my routine.  The only changes I have made so far have not been made by choice, but out of the necessity of dealing with my medical problems.  The current routine works, and I don't want to take any chances by changing to a different routine if I can help it. What would you do? Please share.

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The importance of routines

I drive myself and everyone around me crazy. I am so rigid and find any disruption to my routine very hard to deal with.Recently we had some visitors at our house and my regular dinner time was caused to go off schedule. I reacted and behaved poorly because my routine was disrupted. People look at you and talk about you like you are ridiculous, and of course you are. People no matter how close to you they are or how much they think they know you have no idea how this disruption affects you.Even when explained it is difficult for someone who is not obsessive compulsive or  an addict to fully grasp the concept of our need to be rigid. I actually need to be this way, because left to just wing it, outside of my routine, history shows that I will take the path that more often than not leads me to places I would rather not go anywhere near.. I have a routine for everything. I have a morning routine. I have a routine at night to prepare for the morning. I have a sleep routine which is just the preparation of getting into bed relaxing and falling asleep, but if varied, I am not able to sleep as well as if I follow the routine.I have an eating routine and an exercise routine, which may vary from day to day but each variation is just a different routine within a routine. I even have a routine for how I wash my car.This strange behavior works for me and it may work for you if you need to replace the behavior which is not working for you now. Lets talk about it.

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Compulsive eating disorder

I am also of the same behavior and will surely be following your blog site.

I have lost, to date, a total of 74 lbs and I can tell you it has been a total dedication to concentration. 

I have to always pull myself back and look at the road ahead.  I feel a lot better with this weight gone and have

a lot more to go, but with the help of my WW support group and my friends and family - I am succeeding.

It has been a longer road than I originally thought, but understanding the reality of it, and a lot of on going soul

searching, I didn't get here in one week and it won't take one week to reach goal.  The goal is change of habits for a healthier life style.

With all this said - it doesn't mean that I don't fall off the wagon at times, but I have been able to get back on track.

Thank you for sharing your experience and the willingness to help others in the same boat.

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