January EOTM – “But…I still have to live, right?”


I was sitting across from my doctor, trying to think of something clever to say.  I had just happily told her that I made some sugar-free cheesecake brownies for dessert, and how good they were.  I thought she’d be happy, but her response was, “Wait, hold up…you did what, now?”  

As soon as it came out of my mouth, I knew it was dead wrong and I was racking my brain for the perfect excuse that would get that look off her face.  You know, the “mom stare” type of look when you get caught with your hand in the cookie jar (pun intended) and you know you better get some act right.

I was just under 3 months post-op, and stupid me was thinking that they were ok because the label on the box said “sugar-free” AND the fact that I only ate one and had only planned on only eating one per day.  Plus, I used stevia in the cheesecake topping instead of sugar.  And dammit, it’s the holidays!  It was already bad enough I was missing out on the sugar cookies and red velvet cake I really wanted at Christmastime, so these are healthier in comparison, right?  And granted, yes I did have surgery, but don’t I deserve a treat sometimes?  I don’t do this all the time, it was really the first time since I had surgery so this was really not a big deal and I did not plan on continuing to make brownies, so it’s cool…Boy did she give me the business for thinking so.

What’s funny is that maybe two weeks later I was talking to someone who had also had WLS.  Turns out that they had their surgery about a week before I did, except they had lost half as much as I have.  They were telling me about the candy they continued eating – albeit a fraction of the amount they used to eat before surgery (or at least that’s what they tol me).  While that person lamented the fact that they were a slow loser, they said something aloud that I had thought in my head to justify the brownies – “But…I still have to live, right?”

That line gets the award for EXCUSE OF THE MONTH.

Whether you have had surgery or just trying to limit your sugar-intake, it’s not ok to say that you “still have to have a life” while on your new eating plan so it’s ok to have sweets.  The fact is that if you are a carbohydrate ADDICT, then you may just have to abstain, at least for now, even if it is the holidays, your birthday, or anniversary.  And that’s even more important if you are a WLS patient.  Discuss with your doctor what’s best for you, but I think that in my case, abstinence is just going to be key for now.  Sweets, chips, cookies, and pizza are how I would deal with stress before surgery, and re-introducing those foods to my new stomach (even the ones that say sugar/fat/cholesterol/salt-free or whole grain/whole wheat) is not conducive to changing the destructive behavior.  Plus, sugar-free doesn’t equal calorie free.

Instead of thinking of your eating plan in terms of “I can’t have this…I can’t have that” look at in terms of “Granted those things taste good, but I’m choosing to do better and only feed my body healthy foods and drinks that it needs.”  Say it over and over again until it sticks.

So, following the hand slap I got from my doctor, when I got home from that appointment, I promptly threw away the entire pan of gloriously moist, scrumptious cheesecake brownies with pecans.

What do you all think?  Do you agree? Disagree?  I’d love to hear your opinion!

2 thoughts on “January EOTM – “But…I still have to live, right?”

  1. Elizabeth, great post! I sorta had similar experience with my therapist. You know the “mom stare” down lol!

    It was a few days before my daughters came to visit last Thanksgiving, and I was stressing out about what not to eat. I had told her that i have kept my pantry free of trigger foods, and that since they were coming I was going to buy “evil” foodstuffs that I can’t eat. That triggered a serious conversation around food and this obsession that it’s bad for me.

    She told me to think of eating food as essential function for my health and existence, the more I deprive myself the more I will probably want to eat it, the more I can get out of my head, and the more guilt I will create for something that is essential for our human experience. Now the trick is to not feel guilty about what I’ve eaten. I am still working on it.

    I like what your doctor said it makes sense, and it supports what my therapist was trying to convey to me.

    She suggested I think of food (even bad food, like high fat high sugar high carb) as a source of nourishment. Then evaluate how much nourishment I will get out of it. She also mentioned that certain foods bring pleasure, so she said that I would need to find a way to eat and get the best nourishment and pleasure from my meals.


    • Thank you for sharing your story, I appreciate your candor on a topic that is really not easy to talk about. I’m glad to hear that you are receiving the counseling you need to help with getting your health under control.


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