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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Is the honeymoon over?

I've given a lot of thought to Friday's entry about cheese, not because I typically dwell over such things or because I mourn the need to limit my consumption of it. I've been thinking of it because the "honeymoon period" that follows gastric-bypass surgery is nearly over for me.

The honeymoon period is the 18-month window following gastric-bypass surgery in which the patient loses the bulk of his or her excess weight. After the honeymoon period, the gastric-bypass patient becomes more like the average person trying to lose weight. Watching the amount and type of food consumed becomes increasingly important, as does maintaining the positive lifestyle changes made in the preceding months.

One of the challenges is that as the honeymoon period nears an end, it's common to slip into old habits without even realizing it. And it becomes even more important to be vigilant about following the prescribed post-operative eating plan.

But the other challenge is that nearing the honeymoon period also means the post-op has lost a massive amount of weight and is nearing his or goal (assuming the weight loss went according to plan). Why is that a challenge? It's a challenge because our society seems to view weight management as a finite task. People understand the concept of losing weight, especially when morbidly obese people do it. But when a person goes from losing weight to maintaining the loss, people act as if the hard part is over. And if the hard part is over, that must mean that the easy part has begun. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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