Why I decided Bariatric Surgery was for me.
It has been 3 1/2 years since I had Bariatric Surgery and I am often asked what made me decide to go that route for weight loss. The decision was not an easy one and it took many months for me to make the decision to start the process. When I started thinking about bariatric surgery, the first thought that came to my mind was how did I get to that point to begin with. My weight had been a struggle as far back as junior high but it wasn’t that much of an issue. Over the years the pounds piled on and it wasn’t till after high school and college that I really seen myself for how fat I really was. Yes, I said fat. I am not hiding behind words such as overweight, extra pounds, or thick. I was OBESE. The one thing I have learned during my journey is to be honest with myself.
That honesty took me on a journey to lose weight and work on becoming healthier. At that time, I went on a mission to lose weight. I restricted my calories to under 1000 a day and went to the gym for 1-2 hours a day. I dropped down to 165 pounds. I had lost 60 pounds. My weight wasn’t were I wanted it to be but I was happier than I had been. Soon clothes shopping was fun and I had a new body to show off. I was single and my self-esteem was higher than it had ever been thanks to the attention my new figure was getting. I had lost the weight in all the right places and for once I wasn’t the “Fat One” when going out with friends.
Emotionally, I thought I was free from the depression that being overweight had brought me. However, as someone with bipolar depression, the freedom was short lived. At that time I was not diagnosed so choices I made were not the best. To help with my depression and and anxiety (that came with the new attention) I tried alcohol and cigarettes for the first time. For the first time I was relaxed and had a new confidence I had ever known. I didn’t drink often but used it to self-medicate.
I enjoyed being single and wasn’t looking for a serious relationship the night I met my husband. I would like to say it was love at first sight but I wasn’t. After a quick introduction, he assumed I was stuck-up but later that evening we spent hours talking and I am grateful that first impression aren’t everything. We were married less than 7 months later.
From there my life only got more crazy. We welcomed our daughter just 9 days after our 1 year wedding anniversary. I had inherited a step-son when we married so now we were a family of 4. I quickly put back on all the weight I had lost. Over the next 9 years, I went down and up at least a dozen times. In the fall of 2012, I was fed-up, frustrated, and depressed. On top of the weight, I was dealing with chronic health problems and trying to manage my mental health. It was a constant battle. I was also struggling with the fact that my daughter was watching everything as kids do. I got on the scale and was shocked at the number on the scale. It read 265 lbs It was the heaviest I had been in my whole life. I knew then that I had to make a permanent change. I talked to my husband and after a few months of research, we both agreed that it would be best to proceed with Bariatric Surgery.
I attended a seminar at my local hospital and started all the prerequisites for my insurance and the Bariatric Surgery Program. My insurance required that I attend a Weight Loss Program before I had the surgery. After I completed that portion, it was onto paperwork, final medial evaluations and deciding which form of Bariatric Surgery I would have. When I first started the process my insurance did not cover the “Gastric Sleeve” and I was disappointed because this was the option I preferred. I settled on the “Roux-en-Y” instead of the “Lap Band”. Two months before my surgery, my insurance updated their covered procedures to include the “Gastric Sleeve.” I was relieved and had my surgery in March 2013.
My bariatric surgery did not fix everything in my life but it did help me with my weight loss. At the 2 year mark, I was down 120 pounds. Over the past year, I have gotten lazy and let old habits creep back. Because of that I am up 40 pounds (Still down 80 pounds from my heaviest.) I learned through this process that bariatric surgery only changes the physical. I had to work to change my attitudes toward food and myself. The success cannot just be measured by the numbers on the scale but in the way I eat and approach food. I have had to stop letting food control me and stop trying to control the food. Instead, I need to control myself and seek to bring order into the areas of my life that I can control.