I finally reached my target weight on the 17th December 2021 and I am managing to keep it there but I am not finding it easy. Once I started eating a bit more my hunger levels increased and so did my cravings for junk food. I’ve literally been fighting every minute of every day not to overeat.
I have written at length about my relationship with food during my childhood. I used food as a comfort and I associated it with happy family times. I’ve realised recently that at some point during my adolescence I became obsessed with sweet refined carbohydrates i.e. chocolate, cake and biscuits. As soon as I was given an allowance I was able to indulge in these foods as much as I liked. This led to me alternating between overeating and panicked dieting when I gained weight. I was able to keep my weight at around 13 stone (182lbs) during this time. When I developed clinical depression my eating deteriorated and I rapidly became morbidly obese.
Having done some research I now realise that I show a many of the symptoms of food addiction and binge eating disorder. These conditions are characterised by the urge to consume large amounts of highly palatable foods i.e those containing sugar, fat and salt. These foods trigger the pleasure centres in the brain and cause the release of dopamine; the happy hormone. From my own experience this really makes a lot of sense. I used to get a rush even planning a binge. The feeling of pleasure following a binge was very short lived as feelings of guilt and shame rapidly ensued.
Understanding the chemical mechanism of my urge to binge is making it easier for me control it. I did have a minor binge two weeks ago (my first in 7 months) and it made me feel sick. I didn’t even get the same pleasure response. Initially I was annoyed that it didn’t make me happy and then I realised that this was a good thing. If I can remember this experience in future weak moments I might stand a chance at a long term recovery. I will never stop trying as I love the way my body feels now at a healthy weight.
As I have been at a healthy weight (BMI below 25) since December 2020 I now qualify for skin removal surgery and I will be seeing my chosen surgeon next week. I think getting the surgery is the right decision for me and with my new understanding of my eating habits, I think I am less likely to regain the weight. I know I will never be able to eat whatever I want but now I’m aiming to maintain my weight I can have the occasional treat. I just need to make sure these treats don’t trigger me to binge; apart from the one slip I’ve been doing ok.
I’m planning on blogging my surgery experience from consultation to post-op check up. I think it’s more appropriate to do it here than on Facebook as some of my friends may not wish to see photos of my post surgery stomach!