Weighty Matters

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Was Weight Loss Surgery Really Necessary?

on December 11, 2013

A little less than two weeks before I had my surgery, I was already doing the “full liquids” part of the preparation. Pounds were melting off. A good friend who was going through a very stressful time experienced a lot of anxiety over me having the bariatric surgery. When I shared that I was doing great with the full liquids diet, she asked me why I couldn’t just keep doing that and lose all of my weight instead of having a risky operation.

Speaking from the heart, I explained that I knew I would never sustain the weight loss effort long enough, or I would have done so before then. I also shared that I feared losing a lot of weight and then gaining it back yet again.

Next month I’ll hit my two year “surgiversary”. I probably won’t yet be at goal weight. Someone asked me today if I was sorry that I’d had the operation when it was still taking me so long to lose all of the weight that I wanted. There was nothing malicious about the question. I believe they were just honestly curious. I guess somewhere in their brain was the idea that I could have been able to lose it anyway so the surgery might not have been necessary.

I don’t agree. I still believe, just as strongly as I did two weeks before my vertical sleeve gastrectomy, that I would never have lost 175 or so pounds without the surgery. Was the surgery the magical cure-all? Of course not! Have I still had to work hard on every level to be successful to this point for so many months? Absolutely.

Was the surgery necessary? Was it worth it? Hell to the yeah! I can’t affirm it strongly enough. Surgically reducing my stomach capacity proved to be the tool, the key, the foundation on which everything else stands. To some great extent, it’s the security net when I teeter and fall off of the tightrope. It keeps me from completely hitting the ground and going splat. Because it limits how much I can physically eat, it’s an effective means for stopping a food relapse and prevents binging.

The physical control, or speed with which it helps me regain control when I periodically veer off course, has kept me in recovery and on a losing path for far longer than I have experienced at any other time. The longer time period has given me the opportunity to slowly and effectively make other lifestyle changes. The improved fitness and healthier food choices have developed over the months. I think this process means that the changes are better integrated and more sustainable. I don’t feel like the devotion to exercise is a flash in the pan. It takes time to grow new habits and that’s what I’m doing.

Maybe having bariatric surgery started out as my last ditch effort; the desperate attempt to save my life and improve its quality. Last ditch or not, it was absolutely necessary. I view its effects as the best way that I could open up my spirit for long term lifestyle changes. Simply put, it set me up for success and I’ve taken it from there.

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3 responses to “Was Weight Loss Surgery Really Necessary?

  1. Thea says:

    I’ve read your post, and you are right. You have the experience and insight to back up your choice. You are an inspiration for those two traits as well as your sustained, consistent weight loss.

  2. This really touched me, Mary, as a person who loves YOU and also a person who had had bariatric surgery as well. My surgeon today stresses to realize it is a “metabolic” surgery as well. Extreme, long term obesity is a very complex thing, usually complicated with chemical, hormonal and metabolic issues than simply can not be turned around long term by our diet and exercise attempts solely. Results that are dramatic and amazing are still not even understood by much of the medical profession. From the DAY after my surgery my blood pressure returned to normal.. even before drastic weight loss. Blood sugar numbers were normal within days. And so on. PLUS the weight loss.. Our job is to embrace the healthy life changes of proper nutrition and healthy exercise, things that were not either possible or successful at our prior state.. and the demoralization, lack of hope, and declining health was tragic soul wrenching. Some folks just don’t understand, and that’s ok. I hope they NEVER know that feeling of hopelessness and the burden of a morbidly obese body, despite all attempts. I am so filled with joy today. And hope. And compassion for others who struggle with this challenge. This surgery was a NECESSARY tool that makes a healthy life possible. It has changed my life, and I’m grateful every single day. And I’m sooooooo proud of you, Mary, and so glad you are in my life! xxoo

  3. Skye says:

    Excellent! I understand people questioning: surgery is always life-threatening and apparently takes time off your natural life-span (I’m not sure how they worked out the research behind that one). But sometimes surgery is necessary. I believe you that it is the surgery that serves as the foundation upon which you’ve been able to build better habits. You’ve done magnificently. I’m glad you had the surgery and that you’ve progressed in all areas of your weight and eating disorder issues. You rock!

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