Are you here because you’ve considered weight loss surgery? Maybe you’ve tried a million other things and just can’t seem to lose the weight you want to lose. Are you here because you’re curious about how it works? Or even IF it works? What it costs? If it’s painful? Do I wish I hadn’t done it?
Good. I’m glad you’re here.
Did you come to comment that weight loss surgery is the easy way out? Are you here to tell me to get my fat a$$ in the gym and eat boiled chicken and steamed broccoli for a year before I do something drastic??
Good. I’m glad you’re here, too.
Sometimes, the truth hurts. Losing weight can be really hard, especially for those of us with more candles on the birthday cake, and more especially for those of us with a laundry list of medical conditions working against us. I’ve never been “skinny”. I’ve always been the funny, fat friend who just wants to make the world a better place (think, a combo of Rebel Wilson and Judy Hopps).
But this year has been different. This year, my husband and I decided to get our proverbial “ish” together, including our health and wellness, and as part of that, both of us have had gastric sleeve surgery. It wasn’t a quick decision, and it probably isn’t for everyone.
But if you’re wondering about weight loss surgery, here are some things I wish I’d known.
- This is not the easy way out. Read that again. This is hard, y’all. Post-op, I was on a strict diet for six weeks. Now, I have to constantly remind myself of the journey I’m on (usually when french fries are on the table). I had to adjust to my stomach only having about 4oz of space. Overeating is actually painful. I throw a lot of food away. Ordering at a restaurant is depressing because the things I want and the things I should order can be very different. I miss craft beer, y’all. I’m learning to cook a lot of things differently, and keeping in mind that I can still have most of the things I love, just not as often or in such big quantities. Except for the beer. Man, I miss craft beer.
- It can be expensive, but so is being overweight. Read that again, too. I am so lucky that my health insurance covered most of this procedure, but even if it hadn’t, I would’ve considered it. I’ve already discontinued two medications and reduced dosages on two others. We are eating at home a lot, which saves a TON of money. I have a protein shake and coffee for breakfast, instead of pulling through somewhere and spending $8 on something unhealthy.
- Everyone’s journey is different. My husband had the same procedure three months before I did, and it seems like I’m the tortoise and he’s the hare. The weight is melting off of him and most days, I feel like I’m crawling. Everyone. Is. Different. Comparison is the thief of joy, and I constantly have to remind myself that my weight loss is mine, and no one else’s. I may have to make adjustments to my routine that other people don’t have to, and it may still take longer for me to get to my goal.
- There is a whole network of people rooting for you, and the people who aren’t rooting for you shouldn’t be in your network, anyway. This applies to more than just losing weight. Pay attention to who cheers you on. You may end up with a whole group of complete strangers rooting you on from afar, while the people who supposedly love you the most keep you from being successful. I’m so lucky to have a great support system – even the people who told me I was doing something crazy see now that it’s working for me and have joined my cheering section.
- It’s okay to do something crazy for YOU. Mama, you do everything for everyone, every. single. day. We feel guilty asking for a spa day for Mother’s Day or a night out with our friends, but we shouldn’t. It’s okay to have a very real conversation with your family about taking steps for your health. Surgery is a BIG step. Some of them may think you’re being crazy. Or selfish (and you’ll probably feel this, anyway). Or that it’s too expensive. I went through all of that, too. But I want to be around for them for as long as possible, and this is going to help me do that. If you have trouble with this one, go back and read #4 again.
- Wrapping your mind around losing weight is a whole separate journey. I don’t know how long it will take for me to look in the mirror and not see myself as overweight. That is a hurdle I expect to be difficult forever. But, so many things have already changed. I joined a local fitness program, and I actually love it! (These are weird words for me.) I’m buying smaller clothes. I purchased a two-piece swimsuit. I have more energy and can climb stairs with ease. I can keep up with our daughter.
I can do this. Whatever journey you choose, you can do it, too. Have questions? Just ask!