I was browsing a weight loss surgery forum earlier this evening. Someone who had gotten herself to the point where she was moving forward with investigating having surgery and was feeling relieved, happy and hopeful posted that when she shared her decision with family, they told her that she was taking the easy way out. That harsh judgment crushed her and now she doesn’t know what she’s going to do.
Just because I had weight loss surgery does not mean that I think every single obese person in the world needs to do the same. I believe that it is a matter of personal choice. Nobody should be pushed into it if they don’t honestly feel that it is the best option for them. If they decide that wls is the best option, I further believe that the people in their lives should support that decision. Hearing that someone would criticize this woman and claim that surgery is “the easy way out” makes me angry.
There is nothing easy about doing all that is required physically, mentally and financially to prepare and receive medical clearance. There is nothing easy about going through a procedure that surgically reduces the size of your stomach — and in my case removing 70% of it. Those that have gastric bypass also have their digestive system re-routed.
Post-surgery? Let’s see — for me this involved a week of clear liquids followed by a month of full liquids. Then, a week of soft/mushy foods and weeks of gradually introducing regular foods back into my food plan. Nothing easy in that process. Throwing up at least once a day in the early weeks, fighting indigestion, learning what my system could tolerate and what it couldn’t . . . anybody who thinks that it’s all the equivalent of a day at the beach is dead wrong.
I don’t personally know the woman who wrote the post, but I bet I know a lot about her and what her struggle with food and obesity has been like over the years. None of us is terminally unique. She might have tried every diet known to man — some of them multiple times — and been on a roller coaster over the years of losing and regaining, losing and regaining. I don’t know what became her final line in the sand where she made the decision to go for surgery. Maybe, like me, she’d reached the point of absolute desperation and was convinced that she either could never lose the weight she needed to without surgery or feared that even if she lost the weight, she’d regain it.
Whatever the case, not having surgery doesn’t mean she’s weak… but having the surgery definitely requires digging deep into yourself and tapping your inner strength and resolve.
And that’s just the beginning. After the surgery, a lifetime of work begins. Day by day we plan, make choices, and, hopefully, execute those choices as planned. We completely retrain our psyches a well as our bodies. In many cases, we need to resolve the habits of a lifetime — not just in the way that we eat, but in how we treat our bodies. We have to embrace positive change and push ourselves, often in ways that we never before pushed.
I hope and pray tonight that the woman who posted is able to tune out the harsh and erroneous judgment of those people. I hope she sticks to her choices and moves ahead without allowing the negative opinion of others to divert her from her chosen course of action. I hope she realizes that it doesn’t matter what other people think or say or do. She’s the only one who matters. She needs to know that there is no way in hell that she’s chosen the easy way out.