This morning, I decided to make an egg sandwich for breakfast. More than 15 years after my WLS, a whole sandwich still is too much. I made it anyway. I have a little pan that cooks one egg. I love it! It makes a fried egg the perfect size for a sandwich.
My meal prepared, I sat down at the kitchen table and took the first bite. It was pretty good, but not great (because it was the egg white). I continued to eat around the edges of the sandwich, while savoring the idea of the last bite – the one I knew would be the tastiest – the part with the just barely cooked yolk.
I was almost completely focused on the impending deliciousness of that last bite.
You can imagine my disappointment when, after working most of my way around the crust, I realized there was yet another round to go before even getting to the tastiest part.
Crud. I realized I may not make it to the yolk!
Despite my feeling of fullness, I took several more bites, getting ever closer to my ultimate tasty target.
You’d think I would have learned by now that I can’t eat an entire sandwich. You’d think I would have learned that telling myself I was on my way to savoring the last, best bite was a lie.
There’s something about the potential for an intensely pleasurable eating experience that puts me in denial.
With disappointment, I finally accepted I could not finish the sandwich. I would not have the pleasure of that last, tastiest bite.
As I was leaving the kitchen, the best bites of the sandwich in the trash, I remembered a decision I had made soon after my gastric bypass.
Eat the best bite first.
Whatever I ate back then, be it baked chicken, vegetables, or toast, I always ate the best part first. The most tender bite of the chicken; the tips of the asparagus; the soft, buttery center of the toast.
Having made that decision, I didn’t need to worry nearly as much about overeating, because I wasn’t ploughing through the less tasty bits to get to the most flavorful bits.
It was much easier to stop when I was full.
I know, I said butter. Even early on after surgery I allowed myself a modest amount of fat. I put 1/8 t. of salad dressing on my tablespoon of pureed vegetables after surgery. It just didn’t make sense to me that I should eliminate fats completely after a surgery that already was drastically restricting my diet. (I lost 100 pounds by my sixth month after surgery.)
I’ve spent all these years experimenting to find what works for me. I listen to my body – and feel when I’ve had one bite too many. What this sandwich episode teaches me is that I will always need to be self-aware. I will always need to check my denial. I will always need to show myself compassion. I will always endeavor to eat the best bite first as an act of self-care.
WLS success is not synonymous with deprivation. There always is a tastier way.
A “Daily Inspiration” from Katie Jay’s Book: Accept that you are human and are going to fall at times.
How you act after you fall determines your fate. Sooner or later you will eat something you feel is “wrong.” Maybe you’ll eat something unplanned at a party, or drive through to get an old favorite when you’re in a hurry. After a stumble, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start over–without looking back and without guilt.
You can waste a lot of energy feeling angry and guilty for not being perfect. Understand that these cravings and feelings are normal and have nothing to do with personal strength or resolve. You cannot allow these feelings to crush your spirit. In fact, a poor food choice is simply a signal you need to make a positive choice as soon as possible. Starting over (and over and over, if necessary) is looking forward to success, instead of dwelling on mistakes.
Action for the day:
Start over today and move on. Instead of kicking yourself for a poor choice, focus on how great your next choice will be.
You can purchase Katie Jay’s book, Small Bites: Daily Inspirations for Weight Loss Surgery Patients, on Amazon!
One reader said, “This book should be given to EVERY person who has had weight loss surgery. It is very encouraging and has great tips for continuing success. The principles can be applied to many aspects of life, not just weight loss.”