Ask Dr. Phil: Judi's Story

Less Weight, More Problems
Dr. Phil talks to Judi, a woman who feels she has more problems after losing 80 pounds.
"I used to weigh 283 pounds," says Judi. "I've lost 76 pounds by having gastric bypass surgery. I thought it would fix all my problems, but it has not. I am more emotionally insecure now than I ever was. My support system is gone now that I can't eat big quantities of food. I am so insecure right now that I feel my husband would rather leave me than be with all my insecurities. Dr. Phil, what should I do?"
"I really don't care how much my wife weighs," insists Judi's husband Dave. "I told her that before she had the surgery. She can weigh as much as she wants and I'll still love her the same. Since her surgery, Judi's insecurities have been out of control. I would never leave Judi. I would do anything to get her insecurities to go away."

Judi tells Dr. Phil that she had been substantially overweight for about 10 years, and married Dave only two years ago.

"So you were at a heavy weight when your husband married you?" asks Dr. Phil.

"Yes," answers Judi.

"Did that surprise you?" asks Dr. Phil. "That he saw through that and didn't care about that [weight] and focused on you?"

"It did, yes," admits Judi.
"First off, understand that a lot of people have this reaction to gastric bypass surgery ... The truth is, 25 percent of the people that have this procedure kind of freak. I mean they really have a big reaction to it. Seventy percent of the people who get it done admit that they had emotional problems and discomfort before they ever had it done. And 50 percent say they experienced depression along the way [that was] associated with it in some fashion."

Dr. Phil continues, "You gained this weight for a reason ... So that means the weight was a symptom of something going on inside you ... Were you medicating yourself with food?"

"Yes, I believe I was," admits Judi.

"Food was a coping mechanism ... so now, all of these things that you've felt throughout your life are still there, but you don't have this tool to cope with them any more. Is it any wonder that they start bubbling back up again? You've got the same problems you had before, you're just in a smaller body and you don't have a tool to fend it off."
Judi admits that even though she was provided with a support group after her surgery, she hasn't attended any meetings.

"You've got to manage your internal environment while you're managing your external environment," explains Dr. Phil. "And because all these insecurities are coming up again, who is the target of your insecurities? Who are you aiming those at?"

Judi admits that she is aiming her insecurities at her husband because, "As the old saying goes, you direct your anger at the ones you love the most."

Dr. Phil tells Dave he needs to understand that this isn't about him, and that he needs to drag Judi to her support group meetings if necessary.

In order for Judi to begin her important internal management, Dr. Phil gives her a homework assignment.