I wrote a post about five years ago, in which I discussed my attitude toward New Year’s Resolutions. My attitude has evolved a bit since then, but for the most part it is still pretty simple:
New Year’s resolutions are the lies we tell ourselves to make us feel better about the lies we told ourselves last year.
What is important about this? It is that, usually, the first resolution I ever made each year was to lose weight. It’s the only one that has ever proven to be my undoing. Even during the short time I was successful with weight loss, I could never seem to make the success permanent. Not that I really cared all that much. As I said before, there was a time when I was happy no matter what my weight was because, outside of being fat, I was in excellent health. In my case, fat ≠ unhealthy. I have always considered myself lucky in that respect. Even in my post-40 era I was doing well physically, so making weight loss a goal was actually sort of a joke. I didn’t take myself seriously at all, so I never fulfilled my resolution.
My life has changed now. Weight loss is not a resolution this time: it’s now my way of life. You see, for me, having bariatric surgery was not an option. It was a requirement. Not so much that I would have to change the way I ate, but that I have always been least able to restrict how much I ate. Emotional eating has always been a problem for me, but mostly I ate because I like the taste of food. I love food.
Fatty, salty, sugary food. And lots of it. Especially if it is prepared well. A good cook was like a demi-god to me. I could not wait to get to the home of someone I knew who could really cook, because sooner or later the good food was coming. And I relished it. Still do, if I am being honest with myself. So the problem was not what I ate, it has always been how much I was able to get down.
The surgery serves as my stop-gap measure. I feel full after a much smaller amount of food, and I feel full longer. Not to mention that it takes me so long to finish what I am eating now, I lose interest. For instance, I love soup, always have. I could not wait to be cleared for soft food post-surgery, because it meant that I could finally begin eating the soup I had stored in my cupboard. It is the best kind of comfort food for me, for many reasons. Yesterday, I opened a can of chicken soup with wild rice for lunch. Under ordinary circumstances, I would have eaten the entire can in one meal. Yesterday, though, when I looked at how much soup came out the can, I decided to try halving it. Not that this was really necessary because, no matter how much was in the bowl, I could only get down so much at a time and would have to wait between spoonfuls for my stomach to accept each one.
It took 45 minutes to finish. And by finish, I don’t mean the whole portion. I mean it took me that long to get tired of looking at, holding, and smelling the otherwise delicious bowl of soup I had waited so long to eat. As I poured the balance of the bowl down the disposal, I thought I would try again later because, remember, the rest of the can was still in the pot on the stove. It’s still there. I lost interest.
I am one of those people for whom some things have to be forced and strictly regulated in order to be successful. Especially when it comes to eating and losing weight, this has always been true. I anticipated that I would have to eat more slowly, more deliberately after surgery. What I did not anticipate was losing interest in a meal in the middle of the meal. I think, this new year, the lie I used to tell will make itself truth.
And I am happy with that.