Yesterday I had a conversation with a stranger about weight loss, and then, of course, weight loss surgery. We talked for about fifteen minutes, she asked about the process, how it worked, and what kind of “diet” I followed now.
I was, as you might have guessed, more than happy to spill the details of the last few years. She congratulated me, and asked what I would tell my former self if I could go back and talk to her.
Without hesitation, I say ” I would tell her not to wait, to go to a doctor who would get her on this path sooner” because that is the truth; I have not a single regret, maybe only that I didn’t make the decision (three or four or) five (or six, or seven) years earlier.
She nodded and said “I bet. But would you tell her to try anything else? or just go right to surgery now that you know?” [curiously, not condescending]
“Ya know, of course I would want her to try everything else first – but I already did. I had tried every thing you could probably imagine and it didn’t work, or help beyond a temporary period” She rolled her eyes “Oh, I know how it is.”
Nobody I know personally, who has had any type of WLS (weight loss surgery, for short) just woke up one day and was like “Shit, I’m fat, better get my stomach cut out” – although I am sure there are people who just skip over everything until a point where it is just too late and it’s a do-or-die lifesaving option.
Many of the people I know, had similar struggles to me, and to each other. On more than one occasion, sharing any part of my life-long (I mean, it was!) struggle/concern with my weight elicits “Oh my god, I was the same” or “YES, me too!
Here’s an abridged history of my personal weight loss trials prior to agreeing to let a medical professional remove 80% of an internal organ that I have had all of my life.
- Weight Watchers – as far back as when there were cards you moved from one side of a little folder over to another one and all the way up through the points plus system.
- Atkins – varying degrees, but I must have done the ‘induction’ phase at least thirty times in my life.
- Juice Fast – only a handful of times; the shortest of which was 2 days and the longest was 7, just fruits and vegetables and water in my Vitamix all day every day.
- Low Fat eating – Yep, just eating low fat foods, or foods with naturally low fat content, staying under, i believe 40g a day.
- Adipex – prescription appetite suppressant/diet pill
- Stacker – alleged world’s strongest fat burner, first time I took it I was so jittery i dropped a pizza I was serving onto the table, upside down.
- Hydroxycut – Only once I think I tried this, three days later my grandmother died and I forgot to bring it in the bag I packed for her funeral; I still think she made me forget it.
- Dairy free – For 48 days I had not a single stitch of dairy; no cheese, no milk products, no yogurt, nothing.
And of course, I made a ton of salads, drank all the water I possibly could and skipped plenty of desserts, fried foods and snacks. I used lettuce to wrap “burgers”, ate deli meat wrapped in cheese instead of on bread, didn’t put croutons on salads. I cut everything I could when i could. I did the cardio stuff at the gym, tried yoga, bought gimmicky exercise shit (shake weight / ab doer / wonder core / ab slide, to name a few), walked around parks and trails, bought hand weights easily a dozen times.
Once while Steve was away I ate nothing but salad for every meal, and walked about 3 -5 miles every day that he was gone – 2 weeks! I GAINED weight.
Sometimes your methods don’t matter, sometimes things are just out of your control. I didn’t believe that was true regarding weight loss, but my body was a traitor.
My surgery was a metabolic reset in addition to reducing the size of my stomach. And the only thing about it that makes me feel bad, is the anguish that could have been avoided for so many years.