Addiction to food is like having an abusive partner that you want to leave, but can’t. Food to some is the fuel that they need to survive and live, but for others it’s an obsession that they can’t stop thinking about.
How many of us deal with trying to lose weight? We try every diet with a name out there. Some of us are successful at it, but most gain the weight back and then some. This is because our relationship to food is not a healthy one. I myself have struggled with body image since I was a child. I tried everything to lose a few pounds instead of learning how to eat better. However, I am now much more versed on the effects that food has on my body.
Food, like alcohol or drugs becomes a coping mechanism to many. One day they realize that the weight has changed them into someone unrecognizable. It also doesn’t allow them to do everyday things since they are tired, and the weight limits many physical activities. This is the story of a woman who realized that all of the diets and programs that she tried since high school were just temporary solutions. She has no shame in admitting that she recently got bypass surgery to help her with her weight control. Some may deem this as the “easy way out,” but in learning her process, I will attest that it’s the other way around.
Janis was in Costa Rica on vacation last year, and wanted to go zip lining. The weight requirement is 250 pounds, and she was over the limit. She worked hard at losing the weight so that it wouldn’t affect the activities while on vacation, but unfortunately gained it back.
The first time that she had joined a weight program was in high school when she weighed 175 lbs. This was a lot for her 5″ 1′ height and body frame. Unfortunately, Janis kept going up through out her years and gained another 142 lbs. She weighed 317 lbs the day of her surgery.
She has now lost about 60 lbs since February. She is on a very strict eating plan. The first few weeks are spent on liquids, soft foods, no meat, alcohol, sweets, or food that are hard for her new stomach to process. Janis has spent the last few months re-acquainting herself with food. She works out several times a week, and has now joined a running group. She ran her first 5K on June 1st, and has signed up for another one in the upcoming months.
What has been surprising to Janis is the immense support that she has received from friends, and family. Everyone is concerned with the amount of food that she “doesn’t” eat now. Her friends look at her plate and feel for her. However, she is full. Janis’ issue with food was portion control. Now, she gets sick if she eats too much or the wrong thing. When she told her friends that she got the surgery, a few of then started coming out to Janis and admitting that they had gotten it too. She is removing the stigma put on this decision, and she proudly shares her story.
This decision was not an easy one, but Janis wishes that she had done it a long time ago. It takes commitment to learn what and how much to eat, to start working out and to turn yourself around. Janis couldn’t do it alone, and I commend her for admitting that publicly, and doing something about it. She is giving herself another chance to live a healthier life.
We will watch and support Janis on her courageous journey to becoming a healthier woman. It is never too late to make changes to better ourselves.