I’m almost 1 year into my journey with bariatric surgery….ONE YEAR…..this seems unreal to me.
As I look back over it I am definitely not the same person who embarked on this journey. I was girl who weighed 315 lbs. and was desperately trying to diet and exercise to lose weight. I was a girl who was frightened to lose 100 lbs. for fear of what my body would look like afterward. I was a girl who was afraid.
Of pain, of my health, of dying young, of being obese forever, of never enjoying life again.
I was mostly afraid of developing a life long illness like diabetes and I knew I was on that road with sitting at over 150 lbs. to lose, but I felt hopeless.
I had tried EVERYTHING that I could think of to lose weight.
I hired a personal trainer, had a gym membership that I actually used, I bought every diet book known to man and implemented them, only to last for about 2 weeks, lose a little weight then fall off the wagon and gain it all back plus some.
I even tried out for the TV show The Biggest Loser, TWICE. I auditioned in Nashville, TN AND sent in a video tape audition.
Yep, I tried everything…..
Looking back, I can honestly say I NEVER considered bariatric surgery at any of these points in my journey. I don’t know why? I guess it just wasn’t on my radar. That is until Christmas of 2013 when I went home and learned that my sister-in-law had her lap band removed (an option I NEVER considered) and revised to the sleeve. She looked fabulous and I was struck by the whole situation.
For the first time, I thought….hmm maybe I could do it too!
I had hope…
So I came home and started researching the gastric sleeve
. I looked at all the bariatric surgery options, but felt like the sleeve was the best fit for me. So I grabbed the bull by the horns so to speak and jumped in. I started the process in November 2013 and had the surgery in Feb. 2014 and I haven’t looked back since. I knew very early out of surgery that I would probably do the whole approach differently than most patients. One of the things that kind of stuck with me was my love of exercise and being in the gym. Thankfully I figured this out during my search for the answers when I was dabbling in working out with a trainer and reading tons of diet books. Another thing I had learned early in this journey was the importance of eating every 3 hours. I had found when I was carb cycling (yes during my fad diet phase) that my body responded well to tweaking my metabolism.
While my surgeon recommended I only eat 3 meals a day, I knew that my body wouldn’t respond well to that approach. Sure I tried it for the first 6 weeks, but it just didn’t work for me. I was beginning to see where my path started to separate from the bariatric community’s approach was about 6 weeks post op.
Something that NEVER crossed my mind pre or post-surgery was that people might think opting for bariatric surgery is “the easy way out”
Nope never crossed my mind……probably because I just didn’t care if someone thought that or not!!
I’ll be honest, I still don’t care….
Once that thought entered my mind though, I began to doubt myself….
Was this the easy way out? Did I just not have the drive and determination to do what it takes to get the weight off without surgery?
These thoughts plagued my mind for months…..
And while they were a nagging voice in the back of my mind….I pushed on.
I figured……ok ……worst case scenario……let’s say it WAS the easy way out.
There wasn’t anything I could do about it now…..I had HAD the surgery, there was no going back.
So I pushed forward….
I learned how to lift weights over the summer…..
Learned that nutrition is important but wouldn’t understand its significance until about 9 months post op.
I moved forward….
Continuing to exercise, lift weights and EAT…..5 times a day, every 3 hours……my body was responding….
Then in Sept. I had a fellow bariatric person explain to me the importance of eating clean and proper nutrition.
Wow I was shot out of a cannon…..
This new approach to nutrition coupled with my intensity in the gym, I lost 14lbs…. and the rest is history. I’m 11 months post opt and down 99lbs. My final goal is to lose 158lbs putting me at 157. This is no easy task, regardless of the avenue that is sought after to accomplish it!
Today I read an article about how bariatric surgery is not the easy out….remember this was a nagging thought in the back of my own mind.
No one has ever said this to me, I just struggle with my own doubt on the topic.
Anyway, something that was written that finally made it “click” if you will was: “making surgery work is a daily and lifelong struggle”, so if surgery were indeed the “easy way out” don’t you think the journey would be easy? Like I could eat whatever I want, whenever I want without exercising? To me that would be the easy way out!!!! NOT surgery. In fact this article goes on to say something else that struck me and finally made sense in my brain.
Compare bariatric surgery to something like coronary disease and the need for open heart surgery. You wouldn’t say to a person who opted to have heart surgery…”oh I see you took the easy way out” The reality is exercise and lifestyle change are needed to improve the life of a person who has coronary disease as well as obesity. The vehicle (open heart surgery, bariatric surgery) shouldn’t stigmatize the person, it should be based on HOW that person grabs their new lease on life and runs with it!!
So to those of you who would question whether I’ve taken the easy way out….I would say….
You don’t know me
You don’t know the work that I put in….day in and day out.
You don’t know the lifestyle changes that I’ve implemented or the difficult mental work I do in counseling weekly….
So before you judge me or any other bariatric patient, ask yourself?
Why am I so judgmental?
Could it be that you are unhappy and relate with the person that I was and can no longer relate with whom I’ve become and am becoming?