Someone was posting today about the attitude towards weight loss surgery and how much they hate the Rachel Ray talk show because she’s promoting people who lost hundreds of pounds WITHOUT SURGERY.
Well good for them. I tried and tried and tried but could never stick with it long enough to make it work for me. Having the surgery is my safety net. But it’s only one of the things I did and in the long run, not even the most important.
The most important was finding a weight loss therapist and working on the problems that got me to Super Morbidly Obese in the first place.
Then joining Weight Watchers and learning to track and stick to a plan and having that weekly accountability and support. Plus – I learned a lot about losing weight and what works for me and what doesn’t. I’m still doing all that stuff and I know if I wasn’t, I would be gaining again. (Because when I’m not doing all that stuff, I AM gaining!)
Working with a nutritionist, learning to plan menus, shop, prepare and eat healthy has been a core part of the process. So many people really and truly don’t know how to eat or what to eat to be healthy. I have to pack as much nutrition as I can into a small amount of food – about a cup a meal. So I eat lean protein, vegetables, high fiber grains, fruit, nuts and lean dairy. Plus I MUST have my daily vitamins because my body no longer absorbs enough food from the food I eat. And don’t forget about drinking water – I can get dehydrated and end up in the hospital if I don’t sip, sip, sip all day long. I like the fact that the surgery made it difficult and painful to eat too much sugar or too much fat or too much ANYTHING. I needed that while my head was getting straight. As you all know, there are days, even after three years, that I STILL need it.
What has really changed my body and helped to change my mental attitude is finding a gym (or two) and a personal trainer (or three) and learning to push my limits on exercise. Trying new things every month so that it doesn’t get boring and I always have something I can do to exercise that sounds good to me. Today the treadmill sounds good – tomorrow will be kickboxing again. This weekend, hiking or biking. Later this month, skiing and snowboarding. This summer, I’m going to try wake boarding, water skiing and surfing and get my scuba certification. And did I mention I was an iron girl triathlete? Okay, maybe a few hundred times…
I think that only time and OUR success will determine the attitude of the public to surgery. If 50% or more of the people who have the surgery stop doing the right thing, they will gain their weight back and the attitude that it is a cop-out/easy way out will continue. But if more people lose the weight in a smart way – changing our lifestyles, exercising, working on the mental health issues that GOT us to MO or SMO, then we can change those attitudes over time.
I never forget that I did this to save my life. It made me think about other life saving techniques that were originally scoffed at and I found this:
“Whether you were ‘dead’ or not depends largely on what medical technology is lying to hand. The longer you are in cardiac arrest (heart not beating) or respiratory arrest (not breathing) the harder it is to revive you, but you’re not dead until the doctors decide nothing else can be done. However, it wasn’t always this way. There was a time when both of the symptoms above indicated the cessation of life. In fact, when early reports of successful mouth-to-mouth were presented to the Royal Society, their prickly response was: “Life ends when breathing ceases.” You were either dead or you weren’t. ”
I was super morbidly obese, but I wasn’t dead yet and this is my own version of mouth to mouth. I call it MIND to MOUTH.
Oh – and I have to stand up for weight watchers – like anything else, it only works if you follow the plan and don’t get off the plan. They have recently changed their points system so that it is a lot more balanced and you can do WLS-style eating with more protein and stick to your points and LOSE or maintain as is my goal. It teaches balance, accountability, journaling and encourages exercise. I did it for two years before surgery and though I only lost 40 pounds in that 2 years, I did learn how to be aware of what I was eating and I consider my WW leader and group a key part of my success.