Life After Bariatric Surgery: Decision Part I
One month before my 30th birthday I decided to have weight loss surgery. The decision was not an easy one. I researched different procedures, attended support groups and spoke to former patients. These factors did not weigh in on my decision, but they were informative.
There is a stigma in obesity an unspoken you haven’t tried hard enough attitude that lingers. While I attended the support groups, I heard people listing their reasons for surgery. Many of them had comorbidities (chronic diseases or conditions). I felt guilty because I had none. As I listened to their stories, I felt I did not deserve the surgery because I was not sick. For the first time, I felt that stigma of not trying hard enough.
Afterward, I started a diet for the thousandth time. After extreme dieting for a month, I lost a whopping total of seven pounds. In my frustration, I scheduled my first appointment with my surgeon and nutritionist. I learned my preconceived conceptions of surgery was wrong.
The widespread rumor of weight loss surgery being the easy way out couldn’t be more inaccurate. Bariatric surgeries force your body to submit to a diet. Some procedures allow more flexibility with diets and exercise, but the majority do not. The more I learned about the operations and the diets that followed, the more hesitant I became.
One of my main hesitations was food. My insurance required a psychological evaluation before having the operation. The evaluation had no indications of an unhealthy fixation with food. But the thought of never being able to eat my favorite foods, made me pause.
I attended a support group that asked: what are you looking forward to doing after? The answers humbled me. Several people mentioned: flying on an airplane, shopping at Victoria’s secret, and zip lining. It was the sweeter reasons that had me in tears. One person said they looked forward to riding an amusement park ride with their kids. Another mentioned, saying yes when they’re their children them to play. One said, taking their family to the pool. As I continued to listen as they shared, it dawned on me how much I wasn’t doing because of my weight.
I thought of my children and how much I missed out on because I said no. For me being able to create memories with my children out weighted a strict diet. Food somehow didn’t seem as vital as it did. I decided to have surgery because I want to enjoy every second I can with my kids. Five months and seventy pounds later, I have not regretted a thing.