How many times have your heard “I’m not in the mood”… or “When I’m in the mood, I’ll do it,”?
We talk about our “moods” as if they are things that come along like buses or trains and we hop on and ride them until it’s time to get off when we reach a destination, wherever that is and wherever it ends up.
Pull the Cord – DING – time to get off!
When it relates to the gastric bypass bariatric weight-loss patient, the “mood” is a very funny thing to measure since we find ourselves on incredible mood swings at times. Why is that? Why do we have such mood swings for about the first six months of our weight-loss journey?
It’s basically because fat cells harbor our hormones; and when we are shrinking away our fat cells, our hormones are affected tremendously, and often, they appear out of control. Some of us are better at coping with these drastic hormonal changes, and others certainly are challenged with disguising their mood swings…. I bet right now, you can identify a few situations where you didn’t understand why you suddenly lashed out at someone, cried unexpectedly, or totally misunderstood something and took it offensively. You’re confused as to why you have reacted in this fashion when it’s not even in your character. If it normally isn’t in your character to behave in such a manner, then you have to realize that your fat cells and hormones are on the roller coaster ride of their life and they too are confused! They’ve never before been subject to such sudden and dramatic changes because you’ve never lost so much weight so rapidly before in your entire dieting history.
How can you counteract these mood swings? Here’s some tips:
• Recognition: They are what they are – fat cells and hormones trying their best to function.
• Be Hopeful: The swings won’t last forever – only for about six months along your weight-loss journey until the hormones get settled and back to normal.
• Pause Before Responding: You’ve heard that “counting to ten” thing. This gives the mind a bit of time to rationally and logically prepare rather than burst out like a cannon with bad aim.
• Inhale Deeply: Additional oxygen in the lungs gets to the blood cells which gets to the brain. Don’t make your brain be on an oxygen diet because that only impairs your thinking.
• Consider the Consequences: Will your mood hurt someone? Will it cause more confusion to the situation? Bad consequences can never be escaped. And if you’re not good at apologizing, you’ll damage important relationships even further.
• Get Adequate Rest: The body and the mind needs to shut down and regroup to function at its best. Cheating yourself of adequate rest magnifies the mood swings.
• Eat Nutritionally: This is a no-brainer to us, isn’t it? We are more aware of our body’s nutritional needs than we’ve ever been aware in our lives because our bloodwork will show our doctor the truth during our follow-up visits.
• Walk it Off, Soak it Out: Take a walk or a long hot bath to relax yourself. Don’t make important decisions when you feel tense.
• Get Help: if things are too overwhelming, seek help from supporters or even from the medical profession. There’s should be no shame in asking for help.
• Inform Others: Or shall I say “warn” others of your temporary circumstance? You just might avoid future misunderstandings this way.
• Get Sunshine: Every chance you get spend some time in the sunshine! Part the drapes, open the blinds, take a walk, go for a drive, sit on a park bench… just enjoy the sunshine! Serotonin (chemical in our body that affects our moods) is increased when we are in the bright sunshine.
• Write it Out: Write your moods/frustrations down on paper. Keep them in a journal for future review or instantly throw them away. This exercise is simply to release the steam that might be building up inside of you.
• It’s Not Unique: When you consider that you’re not unique to these mood swings, you can take comfort to know that others are experiencing the same kind of things. You’re not going crazy.
Select ONE item from the list above and work on it RIGHT NOW TODAY. It all begins HERE! Keep adding ideas from the above list, and soon you’ll be feeling better about your moods and become less prone to surrendering to your out-of-control feelings or emotions.
Stop waiting for the Mood Bus to come… you’re no longer the passenger, you’ve been promoted to the DRIVER in control of your own route!