The end of this month is the one year anniversary, or surgiversary, of Dad’s and my surgery. To commemorate this event I thought I’d talk about my inspirations to start this process towards my healthier self.
I had been fluffy my entire adult life, since puberty truthfully. It was my normal. I didn’t know what it felt like to be any other way. Over the years I had experimented with different diets and exercise plans and would lose weight, get a taste of what could be, and then would eventually give up the plan and gain it all back plus. I knew something had to change when I hit my all time high weight of 268, but at that point it just felt too daunting and was just easier to eat my emotions with another plate of cheese fries. I had no idea where to start for an effective long term solution.
My experience with weight loss surgery up until this point was secondhand via my aunt and cousin. Both had had a version of surgical intervention many years ago. My aunt actually was one of the first few when they were first starting to perform them many decades ago. To give you a hint of the timeframe, they don’t even perform either hers or my cousin’s surgery anymore.
My aunt had lost all of her excess weight and then some. She’s 5 ft, was 260lbs and is now about 140. She’s had a lot of complications over the years, though I think she would still say it’s worth it. With her particular surgery they rerouted a very large portion of her colon, as well as removed part of her stomach. It was kind of an uber version of the roux-en-y. Because of the very large portion of her colon effectively being removed she’s had major digestive issues since, as well as malabsorption and vitamin deficiencies.
My cousin had an early version of what’s called, in layperson’s terms, stomach stapling. They didn’t remove anything but lessened the size of accessible stomach, forcing portion control. She lost a lot of weight at first, but then eventually learned to eat around it and fell back into bad eating habits and now weighs more than she did before the surgery.
These were my two readily available examples of possible results from weight loss surgery. Neither result desirable really. Then my brother started dating his fiancé.
Her name is April and she’s absolutely awesome. I learned that she had had a roux-en-y done about 5 years ago. Just seeing how happy and beautiful she was, how successful she was, I was inspired to start researching. It was never a viable option to me. But looking at how someone could have the surgery and still live a normal life without having to be obsessed with their diet or exercise to maintain a “normal” weight gave me hope.
I never thought I’d become a happy healthy gym rat, though I will admit I do enjoy aspects of it now. Seeing someone who didn’t have to completely change their entire life around to accommodate their long term goal of being healthier version of themselves was nice. Don’t misunderstand, she does still watch what she eats to a degree, but she doesn’t obsess. She’s not one to lay guilt on herself or others for eating what she wants every now and again. I’ve always enjoyed food and eating. I didn’t get fat by not enjoying it, that’s for sure. Being able to enjoy food, enjoy life, while at the same time working towards being a healthier version of me. That outlook was what got me started. That’s what got the thought percolating my head.
Combining the percolating thoughts of possible successful outcome with the very real possible outcomes if I did nothing was strong motivation. I didn’t have to look far to see what my potential future would bring if I did nothing and kept gaining. Diabetes, stroke, heart disease, disabling obesity. I didn’t want to put that burden on my kids. I also wanted to be able to enjoy not only their lives but my own. And thus my decision was made and I started the process towards weight loss surgery and the healthier me that I am today.
Since making that decision I’ve inspired my Dad to join me on the journey, as you all well know. We also inspired my cousin to revisit her journey. She’s just finished up the preop process fairly recently, losing a good amount of weight in the process, and is waiting for final approval for revision surgery.
I’ve recently asked April to do a guest blog post about her journey for your reading pleasure. 🙂