Weight Loss Surgery Misconception

June 14, 2018

It has been awhile since my last post and I apologize for that.  Life has been a tad bit busy.   I’ve been busy working on my new business and getting details worked out as well as working with new clients.  Been busy busy!

One thing I keep hearing or reading a lot from people is about weight loss surgery.  It gets frustrating to keep hearing if someone has had weight loss surgery then they shouldn’t be looked at the same as someone who has lost the weight “naturally”.  Weight loss surgery seems to carry astigmatism with it and mostly in part to those who haven’t been through it personally or are not educated on what it all consists of.  It is by far NOT the easy way out, I can assure you of this! You don’t wake up one day and just decide you are going to have weight loss surgery, it doesn’t work like that. For some people it literally takes years to make the decision whether to have weight loss surgery or not.  And you sure don’t just get to walk into your doctor’s office and say, ” I want weight loss surgery” and then they schedule you for surgery the next day.

Once the decision has been made to have weight loss surgery, the decision has to be made on which surgery will work best for the patient.   There is Lap Band Surgery, The Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery, Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass and Duodenal Switch with biliopancreatic Surgery.  Each surgery offers different things and without going into a lot of detail the end result is losing weight.  How much weight depends on the surgery and how the patient follows through with what they are supposed to be doing.

After the surgery is decided upon by the patient and their surgeon, then depending on the surgeon and if a patient is covered by insurance the whole long list of qualifications begins.  I had the Lap Band done in 2007 and got private loans and no insurance but I still had to go through the exact same long, grueling process in 2014 with insurance paying.  So whichever route you have to go there are plenty of hurdles to jump through.

Both times I had to see my regular doctor for 6 months… he had to log my weight every month and had to take notes on what we discussed… after the 6 months was up then he submitted a letter telling the bariatric surgeon he recommended me to have the weight loss surgery.  A consultation was set up with the surgeon and we discussed my options of which surgery to have. After the type of surgery I was going to have, then I had to go see a psychologist, the reason for this is to see if your mentally ready for the big changes to come before and after surgery.  I also had to attend a mandatory seminar before I was able to see the surgeon. Once all the paperwork from insurance and doctors etc is done they scheduled me for surgery…

So that is just a little bit of all the pre-surgery stuff and of course every surgical center is different.  If this is your first blog post you are reading, please go back and read my other posts and they will tell you in detail everything I have gone through.

I guarantee you anyone that has had weight loss surgery can tell you… if you do not prepare yourself for life after surgery, it can be a rude awakening.  Weight loss surgery is NOT a quick fix, it doesn’t solve all the problems a food addict has.  It is to be used as a tool.  Right after surgery you can’t eat solid food if you tried, you do have rapid weight loss because your food intake is basically nothing.  Once the new stomach has healed after a few months to a year, you are able to eat more food… but here’s the catch… the same bad choices a food addict had before surgery doesn’t go away.  After the healing process if bad food choices are made, the weight will come back.  It takes constant diligence monitoring what we are eating and why.  We get just as hungry as we did before… the new stomach pouch can get stretched out over time and not be as effective.  There are certain foods that are called “slider foods”  which are chips, crackers, ice cream, cookies… basically junk foods… they are foods that do not sustain in the stomach pouch and slide through but not after consuming the bad calories.  In other words those junk foods that most of us love, serve no purpose except empty calories, no health benefits and leave us still hungry.  Protein takes a lot longer for us to digest and gives that full feeling longer.

Along with all this… surgery patients can have dumping syndrome which is exactly what it is… dumping…  sugar is a bad one… it can make us dump out whatever we ate… which to most that sounds amazing… again… I can tell you it is not! Just like anything else if we ate enough of it our bodies will eventually like it again which then causes the weight gain.

Oh and did I mention surgery is extremely painful???  Besides all of this and depending on the person, surgery itself is no walk in the park.  I was almost 500 lbs and the one thing I didn’t realize is… I wasn’t prepared to feel the way I did.  Since my calorie and protein intake was basically zero it made me very weak.   I had always bounced back from any surgery I had except the gastric bypass… I was not prepared to be so weak.  I still had to lug around almost 500 lbs and with no food taking a shower was a huge task!!  I was a person that took a shower twice a day and after surgery I had to sit on a chair in the shower and bathe in stages.  I couldn’t even get myself dressed right after, I had to go sit for awhile until I could muster up enough energy to get dressed.  It sucked!  And after I talked with a few other gastric patients I found out this was a common thing.  The more weight you have to lug around after surgery is harder.  It took over 6 months to get my strength back.

So the whole point of this post is this… whether you have weight loss surgery or not doesn’t make losing weight a simple fix.  Weight loss patients have to work to keep it off, yes it comes off a lot faster, but just like anything else in life, if you don’t maintain it… it will come back! It truly is a combination of eating healthy and changing your lifestyle that is key.  Nutrition and exercise = long term success!

Kudos to those that do it “naturally” that is awesome!  But to those of us that have had weight loss surgery kudos to us too because it’s not the easy way out, it was about making a choice to get help after we tried everything else.  It’s not about willpower and not a switch you can turn off and on.  I ate and made very bad choices and I knew it was bad but I couldn’t stop it… hence why I am a food addict… I got help… I’ve had to fight my addiction still because it doesn’t stop the cravings but weight loss surgery does help if used as a tool to help us not to eat as much, as long as we aren’t eating the wrong foods or overeating and stretching our new stomachs out. There are pros and cons to everything in life…  weight loss surgery is no different… everything is a choice… whether to eat til your miserable, whether or not to have surgery, yada, yada, yada… in the end anyone who has struggled with their weight we should all be supportive no matter the journey and not that someone is weaker for doing something or not doing it. Just sayin!