I left the last blog on a bit of a cliffhanger. When I had my WLS (weight loss surgery), I was 116 kilograms and had a BMI of 42; at the time of writing I weigh 81 kilograms and have a BMI of 28. This is still considered overweight, but I have lost a whopping 35 kilograms. That is twice the weight of my daughter, and she is heavy when I lift her up.
So the surgery worked, but it was not easy. It was, and is, horribly hard. I went from eating anything I could get my hands on, to a full liquid diet after surgery. The stay in the hospital was difficult, and nothing like I expected. When I got home my food issues came to the surface. I was using food to fill a void and had to find a different coping method.
Have I found a secret coping method? No, I have not, but slowly and with perseverance, I have changed my relationship with food. I think about what I eat, and eat to fuel my body, not because I am bored or sad. This has been the biggest change.
Physically I can’t eat a lot of food now, and my body feels it when it’s unhealthy. I have not eaten sugar, and hardly eat carbs. Eating protein and vitamins is the most important to keep my body healthy. At home, this is easy, as I know how much I can eat and usually don’t put more on my plate. In a restaurant, it’s different, and I have to watch that I don’t eat too much. A few weeks after surgery I urged myself to go out to restaurants again. Food is a huge part of my life, and as a family we like to go out. Luckily this is not as hard as I thought it would be. I enjoy going to new places, even if I can’t finish my food.
Mentally I have had many ups and downs these last few months. Nothing can prepare you for the roller-coaster that is about to hit you after surgery. Many days I was too tired to work, as no person can think after eating only 400 calories a day. Many days I was too tired to play with my child, and weekends without my husband were the hardest. It’s hard to explain to a five-year-old that things will get better, and it’s all for the best. I was not even sure about this myself.
However it did get better, and I am now able to sit on the floor and play with her. I am able to walk around without sweating my face off. I am able to jump on trampolines without feeling like I will break it. And I am able to fit in almost regular clothes. The journey is not over yet, but for now, I don’t regret having this surgery. I honestly believe it changed my life. Big in Beijing No More.
Photos: Pauline van Hasselt and Dave’s Studio