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Pam German's Weight Loss Journey

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Post Op Personalities

Just my observation......

Good morning everyone.  I thought it was too cool not to share.   I was talking with an old friend last night. She and I spend a lot of time speaking to people who are looking into this kind of surgery and people who are new post ops.  We got tickled (southern term, meaning we amused ourselves) when we were talking about the new post ops we have helped and decided we normally can group them (and ourselves) into 3 categories.  This is not directed at anyone, just our observation

There is group one.  This person is whom we called the perfectionist.  I have been accused of being a perfectionist from time to time.  That is defined as a person who takes great pains, and gives them to everyone around them!  This person does the homework and goes into surgery knowing EXACTLY what they need to do.  They attack the process like they have every diet they have ever been on. There is no room for error.  They follow the letter of the law and see great results (as long as their super-human powers last).  The doctor is amazed and this keeps them motivated.  There are some problems with this person.  First of all is they are operating on pure adrenalin.  If they truly could function in this world they visualize, they would never have become morbidly obese in the first place.  They think everything is just within their power, and when they make a mistake they take the full brunt of it as a personal failure and a lack of self-value.  They are very intolerant of other people and the struggles they go through to accomplish their goals to the point of being judgmental. If someone says they ate a bite of candy they are quick to point fingers.  They say, why did you bother to have the surgery if you are going to eat candy.  I would NEVER eat candy.  They do not reach out for support, because they dont think they need it.  But just as they did with Weight Waters, Jenny Craig and the Adkins diet, eventually the adrenalin wears thin and they make a mistake.  They eat something not on the plan.  The perfectionist is an all or nothing person.  They see the slip up as a failure to the whole WLS process.  They have failed.  They cant reach out to the others because they are too ashamed to admit they failed. They also would have to admit to the people they flamed that they too are human and mess up.  They would have to hope that the person that they cut down is a stronger person than they were and would not throw it back in their face.  It is a scary and lonely place to be. They get depressed and it is very hard for them to brush off and start again.

The next group is what we called the defeatist.  This person NEVER looks through rose-colored glasses.  They go into their surgery expecting it to fail.  They are the Eyore of WLS.  They hope and wish for success but never believe they will actually make it.  They are pretty sure they are the one in 10,000 that will not lose a pound after the surgery.  When they experience the first few weeks after surgery (what we called Hell Month) they are very upset.  They cant believe they went through all this when they know they are going to fail anyway.  They never allow themselves to honestly embrace the idea that they will ever be healthy, let alone happy with their bodies.  This person doesnt ask for support.  Because, there is no point in it as they are the one that will not lose their weight anyway.  When someone else reaches out for support by saying they are having a hard time, or they have not lost weight, their response is, yesI know what you mean, we dont all get thin.  This person thinks they are always on a plateau.  They may lose 3 pounds this week, but they are sure it was just fluid, and they really are on a plateau.  When their underwear gets baggy. The elastic is just wearing out.  When they go down a size, they know every brand is sized a little differently.  When they are in a size 18/20they claim the 20.  When they mess up on their eating plan, fall off the wagon, or just plain get confused about what they are suppose to be doing, they throw themselves a full blown pity party.  They use every bump in the road as a support to their theory that they will fail.  It is hard to give someone like this support, because they are too guarded to accept it.  They hide behind their fear.  They are truly afraid. There is an old saying that fits this group.  Always expect the worse and you will never be disappointed.   It is scary to step out and say I will make it.  They probably have a whole group of people waiting in the wings to say, I told you so if they make a mistake.  They also probably have a friend who is a perfectionist (from group one) who constantly points out to them every single mistake they make.  You are so tempted to say, hang in there, because when your friend falls on her butt, you will see that even with your defeatist attitude you will come out better than her.<P>Then there is the Im gonna prove you wrong group.  There are not as many people in this group, or maybe they dont seek us out as much as the other groups, but they are there.  One week after the surgery they are trying to out eat their pouch.  They are the ones who are trying Tacos before their staples came out.  Their motto is I had this surgery to be normal and Normal people eat tacos.  They do not think the rules of the surgery apply to them.  They are genuinely surprised when they wake up after surgery and do not look like Cindy Crawford.  They have no desire to change their lives.  They expect the world to change fit them.  If they are 6 months out and have only lost 10 pounds, it is because the surgery failed them.  They say they are on a plateau when they gain 10 pounds.  There is no way they actually are gaining weight because they had weight loss surgery.  This person considers Margaritas to be on the liquid stage of their diet plan. If they fail their doctor did something wrong and they do not what to hear anything different.  They expect the bypass part of their surgery to bypass all the calories they eat; therefore they do not need to exercise.  They will lose some weight, maybe even a lot of weight, but they are doomed to regain after the honeymoon period.  They do not accept that one day their appetite will return and they do not retrain themselves to be ready for it.  Neither do they work toward eating healthy foods.  They dont accept that their metabolism is totally screwed from years of obesity and weight loss and gain.  This person would only succeed if the surgeon wired their mouth shut, and their butt to a stationary bike.  But they would peddle themselves to death, trying to get to Taco Bell, with a hand held blender in their back pocket.

The funny thing about putting all this together was that we find we give the same advice to all the groups.  It comes down to this, Get Real!  You are human.  You have an illness that caused your body to get into this condition.  You are not different than anyone else.  You have to learn to accept yourself and those around you with all our weakness and shortcomings.  You have to learn how to handle this new life you have been given.  You have to commit to doing your best and forgive yourself when you fail.  You are not in this alone.  No matter who you are, you have a support system.  If it is an unhealthy one you have to correct that.  This is not magic.  You will only get out of it what you put into it.  You are responsible for you.  No doctor, mother, father or priest can make you succeed or fail at this or anything else.  Its all up to you.  But, you are lucky.  There are so many who have gone before you, there is no mistake you can make that someone else has not already made.  That is a very comforting thought to most of us.  So know matter who you are and where you are in this game.  Hang in there!              

Some of us have worked our way right through all 3 personalities!  Don't worry, sooner or later we all find out who we really are!