Medical bariatric program: On hold

Hey friends. I got a pretty devastating email the other day. Because of all this COVID-19 stuff, they’ve stopped all bariatric programs. They want to reduce the number of people in and out of the hospital, as well as redeploy hospital staff to assist with pandemic efforts.

To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement. I am fully supportive of doing whatever we have to do to stop the spread of COVID-19, but I am going to feel my feeling about it, OK?

I waited a year from referral to intake, and then another 6 months to begin the program. I changed my schedule, booked childcare, prepared myself financially and mentally for making all the changes that would be required — including doing some deep work in counselling. And now, 11.5 weeks in to a 21 week program, it’s cancelled.

The first email we got had no details on how to transition (as we run out of Optifast) or what would happen once COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. Just a line about hoping we’d have success with the tools we’d been given. WTAF?! I felt completely thrown. Past me would have eaten some chips/cookies, but instead I did a workout and then had a big cry.

We got another email yesterday with a few more details on how we could transition quickly from Optifast, since we don’t have enough for the 6 weeks the program usually requires. And, we were given the resources from the meal planning, emotional eating, and managing cues and triggers sessions that were coming up. I feel like this is some of the most important stuff, and so not having a guide to help me through is causing me a lot of anxiety right now.

One of the most appealing parts of this program was that we’d have professional support for 2 years to help make lasting changes. Now, that’s in limbo. We’ve been thrown to the wolves.

I’ve got time booked with my counsellor and family doctor to help me process this and figure out what my next steps are. I’m also talking to a couple trusted friends and my partner about my feelings, and I’m NOT emotional eating!

It’s not ideal, but I’m not going to let all the hard work I’ve put into the program go to waste. I will carry on with my workouts. And, starting next week I’m going to add one meal while removing one shake. The next week I’ll do it again. And then the week after I should be able to go to food full-time.

I know managing cravings will be key — and hey, I have no junk in the house and can’t go buy more, so that’s easy! The other big thing for me will be only eating at meals and snack times. I’ve been doing that for 9 weeks, so hopefully I can carry on that habit. Finally, portions are a big thing for me, so I’m making a plan to be mindful of how much I’m eating, and giving myself time to savour and enjoy my meals.

Fingers crossed that I’ve learned enough I can make these habits lasting. I’m scared, but I know I’m also up for the challenge. Things might not be going how I’d plan, but so little in life often does…

Will still do my best to continue with weekly updates in this space, so stay tuned!

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