That’s right…despite what you might have heard around the water cooler. I… sir and or madam am not easy…and I’m not very happy with the accusations otherwise.
This is something that I have defended since 2006 when I had my first bariatric surgery (lap-band). I think there is quite a negative stigma of bariatric surgery among the general population who either a…have a lot of weight to lose or b…have never ever had weight issues before in their lives… seems like case of jealousy in the first instance and ignorance in the second.
If there is one thing we can straighten out here between all of us here it’s something that I need you to share with everyone you know…spread it around like wild fire and tattoo it to your heart.
Bariatric surgery is NOT the “easy way out” of weight loss.
First of all, I have no idea what “easy” refers to as I have never heard anyone say “Wow! That weight loss was super simple…I can’t wait to do it again!”. Is it easy because you go in for an hour of surgery? Or is it easy because you spend the rest of your life battling food demons and foods that you crave and long for but will ultimately, make you sick should you decide to partake?
Is it considered “easy” because the weight comes off rather quickly? Saving those with heart disease and diabetes a few more years of their lives despite the doctor telling them otherwise?
I’m confused as to which part of bariatric surgery people think is “easy”.
To those who may have never had a weight issue and may require some explanation and further insight into the matter, I would like to be that vessel of infinite wisdom for you. Some people have a similar relationship to food that an alcoholic might have to alcohol and that a crack addict might have to their drug of choice. Food makes that person feel good, feel happy and fills a void that they may otherwise not get from everyday life and interactions with those around them. Some people (present company included) have justified everything they eat by making excuses and what I call “closet eating”. Others just cannot get enough of the sugary, buttery goodness that most bad foods are notorious for.
Those who battle alcohol or drugs have the option to check into a rehabilitation center where they are offered support around the clock for the designated time frame. People can STOP drinking alcohol and never have a drop again, people can eventually put DOWN the crack pipe and never touch the stuff ever again…but we HAVE to eat to survive. The ONE thing that makes you happy, sad, feel good, feel warm and makes you hate yourself all at the same time is the one thing you will always have around you at all times. You wouldn’t dare accuse an alcoholic of taking the “easy” way out by going to rehab would you? (You would be heartless and we would all hate you so don’t be that guy!) Rehab is a big shove in the right direction for that individual. Once their 30 days are up or however long they are there…it becomes up to THEM to not relapse. It’s the exact same principle.
There IS a such thing as an addiction to food…and it sucks. Those impulsive feelings will never go away…we have to learn to live with them and how to avoid them every. single. day. Not ONE day goes by that I don’t think about shoving my face into a bowl of cheesy, garlicy mashed potatoes…but I personally crave getting on that bodybuilding stage more…that took me a LONG time to get there…some people are still just trying to not eat the bad foods or the sodas. What has made me most successful with this surgery is the change in my lifestyle…the time, energy and educating of myself I had to do to make that lifestyle change was the ticket to my success with bariatric surgery where I have no stalled, or even gained a single pound in 5 years.
Of course no one keeps the weight off on Jenny Craig, of COURSE no one succeeds on the Juice cleanse detox whatever fad tea you want to choke down…It doesn’t fix the PROBLEM.
Food is NOT the problem…it’s the SYMPTOM of the problem. The problem is SO much deeper than what we stuff in our faces…the problem…is WHY? Through bariatric surgery, food ideally is not supposed to be the problem anymore… BUT that might not always be so cut and dry. It becomes the job of the patient to make ALL lifestyle changes, to phase out ALL bad behaviors that got us to where we need the bariatric surgery and it becomes OUR responsibility to battle this addiction every single day of our lives for the rest of our lives and learn every single mistake the hard way. We will ALWAYS have to worry about food, which foods, when, how, will that make me sick? Is this the right thing to eat? what will this do to my body? God I never want to be obese ever again!
The doctors who do the surgery send us home with a packet of information and guidelines to follow directly after surgery but once life starts again….sorry Jack…you’re on your own. Liquids only 2-4 weeks before surgery, liquids only 2-4 weeks after surgery, soft foods 3 weeks after that and pureed foods 3 weeks following that is the diet we are given after bariatric surgery. Then what?
Not only do the TYPES of foods cause a problem but the AMOUNT. The general public can eat and eat and eat until food comes out their nostrils (I’ve seen it happen!) If those of us who have been bariatriced try to pull that sill stunt…clear the path to the bathroom because we are going to upchuck…and it’s not pretty. You will see the realization eyes (similar to the ‘I gotta poop’ eyes that indicate ‘shit…here it comes!” Not fun!
If I can offer a piece of advice, before you go ahead and make your judgement about those of us who have had bariatric surgery, please consider the following thoughts before you flap your lips and make yourself sound stupid:
1.) What was this person like before surgery? 500 pounds? Almost dead? Were they on oxygen? Using a cane? Did their own significant other have to wipe them after going number two in the bathroom? (It happens ALL the time)
2.) How has this surgery made this person’s life livable again?
3.) How much is this person having to wrestle with their own cravings and habits each day to get them to the next day or the next meal.
4.) What all did this person go through before that lead them to get so far out of touch with themselves that they had to have bariatric surgery.
5.) We ARE doing it on our own. We ARE putting in the work. We were just given a giant SHOVE in the right direction.
6.) Before your first thoughts of “just stop eating” or “why do they have to go for drastic surgery” come to your brain….think about giving up your morning coffee every single day FOREVER, think about never being able to eat a regular meal with your family ever again, think about having to UNlearn everything you ever learned and RETEACH YOURSELF how to live. Don’t tell me that that is easy…don’t even start to form the words that anyone can do that.
7.) Most importantly…take into consideration that this is this person’s life…not yours…your opinion of the matter does not have any effect either way on that person’s success or failure.
You can say what you want and by all means, you are more than welcome to have your own opinion of the matter…but educate yourself before speaking. The 350 pound Lyss will look you straight in the eyes and tell you that this surgery gave me the opportunity to live again. I can BREATHE, I’m excited to live life and finally feel…good. Don’t tell me that it has been easy because I have never worked harder for anything in my entire life…why don’t you try to keep up?
**HOPPING OFF MY SOAP BOX NOW**
p.s. references below: