Sunday, February 21, 2016

my work in progress: the decision to have surgery

Back in October I decided to try the National Novel Writing Month challenge, which is to write a full novel during the month of November.  I didn't make my goal, but I got a pretty good start.

I decided I'll share some of it from time to time, as I'm in the process of getting things back in order. I'm seeing the dietitian at the surgeon's office this week, and I think posting these excepts will help remind me of what I'm trying to accomplish. I've gotten so far off track and I'm at the point where I either give up totally and fail, or suck it up and just do it.  I want to do the latter, not the former; the former I've done my whole life when it comes to my weight.

The excerpts I'm going to share are just a first draft.  I know I have some regular readers, so please comment! I'd love to hear what you think.

And here's a kitty picture--my reward to you for visiting and reading.

The Decision to Have Surgery

It took me many years to decide to have weight loss surgery.  When I was in my 20s, my gynecologist asked me if I had ever considered the surgery.  I told her I had thought about it, but I wasn’t yet ready to throw in the towel.  At that point, I felt that having weight loss surgery meant that I was a quitter, and that it was the easy way out—I now know better.  I felt as though I hadn’t tried everything possible to lose the weight.  That was when I began a 15-year roller coaster of losing and regaining the weight.

Several times over that 15-year span I got close to deciding to have weight loss surgery, but I would always come up with a reason as to why I should try just one more time.  The reason was usually that while weight loss surgery would help me lose a lot of weight fast, essentially fixing the physical aspect, it wouldn’t fix the mental aspect.  So, I continued on to lose weight yet again, only to regain all of it and more.

In early 2010, I was at the point where I was ready to have weight loss surgery.  I scheduled a physical with my new primary care doctor and when he mentioned my weight, I asked for a referral to a bariatric surgeon.  He gave me a look of reluctance.  He asked if I had ever tried Medifast.  I said no. He then talked about the program and said that both he and his wife were following it.  He said he has lost about 20 pounds and his wife has lost much more.  He invited me to an informational seminar, which I attended.  The seminar was held at his offices; I didn’t realize at the time that he was a Health Coach for Medifast, which means he got compensation for promoting the program and supporting his clients. I decided to give it a shot and I ordered my first month of food before I left.

The plan consisted of five of the Medifast meals each day, which were mostly mix-and-eat, and then one meal consisting of protein and vegetables. I did well on the program—I lost about 80 pounds—but I got bored within six months, as usual.    I tried several times, half-heartedly, to go back on the program, but I eventually gave up.  I regained all the weight, plus a lot more.

It wasn’t until early 2013, when I was 38, that I finally made the decision to have weight loss surgery. There were two events within close proximity to each other that finally sealed the deal and made me realize that I needed to do something drastic to end the weight loss struggle once and for all.

To be continued....


  1. I feel like it is pretty unethical for a doctor to recommend a weight loss program that they earn money out of. I think that is quite sucky.

    Obviously I am on a journey to health myself right now and what I have discovered is, when I am looking after my body exercise and sleep wise, I am much less tempted to put "bad" fuel into it.

    Plus, with all the food tracking, I have noticed when I put in "bad" fuel in, eg fast food or deep fried food, I suffer for it in multiple ways - the most important being I have less energy to burn, plus it seems like those foods cause issues with digestion.

    I've also struggled with weight all my life, however I usually tend to stop gaining weight around 95-100kg - that is when I start to feel the most unhealthy and realise I have to make some changes.

    At the start of the year I bought 10 aqua group classes at the local pools here - I just used up the last one today. I discovered Aqua Zumba which I write about Wednesday this week on my blog and that is so much fun, if they had a class every weekday I would *so* be there! There are 3 a week, so I am going to try and work that in. I suck at Zumba on land, but something magical happens in the water and I can do the steps. It was totally unbelievable to me! ;)

    What I love most about aqua aerobics is - this gives me a great cardio workout *without* any muscle pain at all the following day, and it is very light on the joints. A lot of people think it is for old folks and injured people however I have always found it to be one of my favourite forms of exercise. I love step aerobics on land too but that is a pretty demanding workout and I need to get more fit first. :)

    I will be very interested to read more. :)

    1. I'm thinking I'll post excerpts once per week and see how that goes. I need to start writing again, so hopefully that will happen soon. I just haven't taken time out of my very busy schedule of watching TV, playing with the cats, and grocery shopping to make it happen.

      I've never tried water aerobics, but I've heard it can be quite the workout, although it's easier on the joints.

      Back when the doctor recommended Medifast I hadn't thought about the fact that he was selling this diet. But now that I look back, I can see it and I agree with you. When I made the final decision to have weight loss surgery, I purposely went behind his back to do it. Meaning, when it came time for my primary doctor, him, to give me a physical exam and EKG, I found another doctor. Pretty sneaky, I know, but I felt as though he wouldn't be on board and didn't want to deal with it.

  2. I agree with Snoskred - i find that when i get my butt out of bed and go to my personal training/class appointments at 5am, i am far less likely to gorge myself during the day. Have you tried incorporating exercise yet? I feel torn on the whole exercise thing because my nutritionist and all the diet books tell you it is 80% diet and 20% exercise. I lost the most weight my first month or so by just counting calories. Now that i have added exercise, i seem to be plateauing but hopefully that will end soon as i am building more muscle. But the good thing about exercise is that i feel healthy and eat better every day i take a class.

    Anyway, i like the book excerpt thing! I am definitely following your story as i love the inspiration you have been and i might have to follow in your footsteps if this whole "on my own" thing doesn't work. Like you, i also get bored after 6 months or so. Plus, if i am honest with myself, i seriously cannot imagine losing 150 lbs completely on my own. Even though i am down 25 lbs (yay!!) the rest of that is just daunting!

    Keep em coming!!

    1. Congrats on your weight loss! I know exactly what you mean about losing that much weight without surgery. I felt the same way. Actually, I even felt like that AFTER surgery. But once I saw the weight flying off, I knew I could do it. Now, losing the last 30-40 pounds feels like 150 to me!

      Exercise has been sporadic. I recently bought a Fitbit and that hasn't really motivated me yet, but it's shown me exactly how sedentary I am. And it's not pretty. I'm luck I break 3,500 steps a day (desk job).

    2. Same way.... I am lucky to break 4000 steps in an average work day. I am lucky that i have an active dog so a 2 mile walk with him every evening might get me in the 7000-10000 range. But to really motivate me i had to get a personal trainer. Not only does the cost dig in (where as a $10 gym membership, who cares if i don't go!), but i feel accountable to him because i made the appointment with him and would waste his time if i didnt show up. Plus he will yell at me if i don't go :-) If you can swing the cost, try it 1-2 times per week. You really will build muscle and that's the biggest difference i feel right now is in my clothes.

    3. I've thought about trying a trainer, but it just hasn't been in the budget. Although, that may change in the coming months. Today is my dietitian appointment, so I'm hoping I'll come out of there feeling more motivated, which will hopefully translate to the gym.