Monthly Archives: January 2014

WLS 23 – Tyranny of the Gumballs

Gained two pounds over the past two weeks. And I’m embarrassed to say why.

Yes, it was the Christmas holiday. Yes, my exercise was off. Yes, I didn’t keep track of what I ate.

But it was all gumballs.

It started off innocently enough. I had gotten into the habit of chewing gum after I ate. It was a long time to wait for that first drink! So sugar free gum and mints helped pass the time.

This worked fine until I ran out of gum during the holidays. Then I looked around — and saw a 20-pound tub of bubble gum I had bought a year ago for my daughter’s gumball business. Just sitting there.

Wow! Was that some crunchy gum! But I found that it tasted good enough, once I got going. In fact, it tasted pretty good! Nothing like a few grams of sugar to get you boosted up.

Turns out that eating sugar was not going to cause me dumping syndrome. Oh well, another barrier to gaining weight shot to shit.

They say that’s what happens: for many folks, you eventually get to where you can eat everything you used to. At that point, it’s like you never had the surgery.

This is not a good thing. In fact, it leads me to believe that those folks who complain the most about their RNY (aside from those with severe complications) are probably getting the most from it. All that sickness, not being able to eat very much, and worrying about certain foods? That’s a great way to get you to 1) reduce what you eat, and 2) pay attention to what’s going in your mouth.

So perhaps complaining about the discomfort of RNY is actually a positive indicator. Go figure.

As for me, inside of two weeks my gumball consumption went berserko. From eating one gumball at a time, I found I could eat two, then three, then four.

Hey, it was Christmas! And it wasn’t like I was eating chocolates or candy. It was just gum.

Before it was all over with, I was sitting down and chewing 20-30 gumballs at a time. Put 2 in, chew them up, then spit them out and put in another two. It was like a day-long sugar rush.

And of course, this did all sorts of nasty things to my metabolism. I would wake up with a headache. My tongue felt like I had been chewing on it, not the gum. I became hungry again quickly after I had ate. Finally I realized I had to quit. Yesterday I made it a point not to have any gum at all.

This resulted in a day-long headache. I can tell you, this was not a fun experience.

So let’s not do that again, okay?

But it goes to prove a point: as you get older, your physiological system becomes less stable. It’s easy to get out of whack, and it’s tougher to stay in whack. Very old people end up taking several different kinds of medications — and they all have side effects. Fat people probably end up with some kind of imbalance earlier on in life. I don’t think there’s any magic cure, and I don’t know if the imbalance is due to sugar consumption, growth hormones, hunger hormones, or too much rock music. But I do feel that this is a natural process of your body system getting skewed.

I also feel like you have to make a decision: how much discomfort are you willing to go through to keep your system in whack? How much of a change in lifestyle? I told the nutritionist the last time I saw her that I had lost most of my initial weight, and I was now considering what kinds of temporary changes I wanted to make permanent.

Sounds pretty obvious to most — do anything to keep the weight off! But it’s not so simple. Do you want to not be able to attend dinner parties without being the only “non-eater” there? Do you want to not socially drink alcohol? How about pre-measuring your food? Happy with pre-measuring your food — for the rest of your life?

These are not easy questions, and over the long term your body is going to go out of whack anyway. That’s just the way bodies are. So it’s always going to be a losing game. The only questions is how much you want to change your life to slow things down before the inevitable.

I don’t know the answers, but I know that I don’t want another day-long headache. Or to gain 2 pounds because of something stupid like bubblegum. If I’m gaining two pounds, dammit, it should at least involve a buffet or a cruise or something! :)

So if you know of anybody that wants 5 pounds of bubble gum? Send them my way.

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