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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Did I really need surgery?

It was great seeing some friends during my little vacation last week.  One of them asked, "But don't you think you could have done it without surgery?  You were doing so good on your own."


She isn't the first person to ask me this.  I kind of don't know what to say.  Obviously I did not think I could do it myself.

I don't know what to think of this question.  Sometimes people make statements that are disguised by questions......so I wonder...is that what this is?  Was that a statement?

I really don't know.  I love my friends and I don't think anyone would purposely hurt my feelings, but this question kind of does.

The answer is NO.  I could not have done it on my own.  Sure, I lost 30-35 pounds before surgery but I hit a plateau of 175-180 lbs.  That is where I ALWAYS got stuck.  And by "always" I mean for the last 8 years.  In the last 8 years I have gone up and down and could never get to less than 180.  It takes MAJOR focus and determination to get down to the 180-185 mark for me.

And by "major focus," I mean to say that I had to learn to live with hunger.  I had to find ways to distract myself from eating even healthy foods.  My appetite was out of control.  It didn't matter what I ate.  Protein, fiber, healthy fats, etc.  I was HUNGRY all the time.  To get down to my "low" weight of 180's, I had to work out like crazy and constantly stuff myself with foods such as grilled chicken, black beans, greek yogurt, and raw fruits & veggies.  Honestly, I got SO SICK TO DEATH of chewing up these foods but I had to if I wanted that gnawing feeling in my gut to go away.  We all know how long it takes to chew up raw broccoli and carrots.  Eventually, I'd get tired of all the jaw motion and just slather peanut butter on toast and gobble it up.

Once I got to about 190-195 lbs "on my own," I started taking Topamax which totally killed my ferocious appetite.  It made it so much easier to lose weight.  So that's actually how I got to 175.  Oh and that little drug called Alli---about six weeks of free samples from my doctor.  That helped me too.  But then I started having some side effects that I couldn't tolerate so I had to stop taking the Topamax.  Slowly, despite my best efforts, my weight crept back up.  From 175 in February to 180 on the day of surgery in July.

Dieticians love to tell people that losing weight is SIMPLE.  As long as you eat less calories than what your body needs, you'll lose weight.  Well, obviously it's NOT THAT SIMPLE.  Their little equation totally disregards hunger.  That annoys me.  Can you tell?

Now that I've had surgery, it is that simple for me.  And THAT is heaven.

I love charts. Here is my weight chart that I keep on my phone.  It's an app called Weight Tracker.  I had to take two separate screen shots to show you this.  The first pic is a photo BEFORE surgery.  See how I lost weight but then it crept upwards after I stopped taking Topamax?

And now look at this second photo.  AFTER surgery.  I could not have broken the 175-180 mark without it because my appetite was a MAJOR factor in my weight problem.

It is heavenly to feel satisfied after eating.  Yes, I needed something drastic, like surgery.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. You go girl! I would have told her just that.

    I hate when people assume surgery is the easy way out (not that that's what she said, but it's what I feel like everyone is secretly thinking!), when wouldn't it be MUCH easier to just eat right and exercise like some people are able to do?

    Didn't she think you put years of thought into this? I know I did. :(

  2. Great post!

    I agree with you 100%

    Yes I did need this surgery and yes I could have done it on my own...but only to a point. One life knock and I would be sky rocketing again!

  3. Love this post! And, no...your friends weren't asking you a question. They were making a statement. They were saying "you didn't need surgery." But I don't think they say it to hurt your feelings, they say it because it's what they think. I'm finding that, for most people, the battle against the bulge is a fairly private one. Oh...people might know you're "trying to get healthy" by hitting the gym or you've started bringing your lunch of salad and 8 gallons of water every day. But they don't know the emotional side of it, the pain, the embarrassment and yes...shame. I hope they never have to go through it. You're doing so wonderfully! Try not to let things like that get to you.

  4. I would very polietely point out to someone who asks this question that surgery is not for people who can't lose the weight on their own. It is for those that have lost the weight in the past, possibly several times, just to regain it. That is part of the reason you have to show history of weight loss attempts in order to qualify for the surgery in the first place. I could lose weight with the best of them! No problem there! But in six months I would be even bigger than I was origionally. That is why the surgery was and is for me. I wouldn't be offended when people ask you this, especially if it comes from those that have never struggled with their weight. They truly do not understand. All we can do is try to educate them when possible, or avoid the subject with them. Whatever you do, do not show shame in having it done, there is no shame ther!

  5. No matter what weight we are - none of us want that hungry feeling all the time. I hate it...and I wish it was gone. I envy you...keep your head up...it's YOUR journey.

  6. I so agree. I got the band (or whatever WLS one chooses) to keep off the weight. Because like you it always crept up. I tried Topamax too but it stalled our after about 15 pounds. Wellbutrin too. It seemed my brain wouldn't listen when I said it couldn't eat. So yes, you probably could have lost the weight and starved for a few extra weeks, BUT you need WLS to keep it off. Glad it's working for ya!

  7. lee lee I missed youuuuuu!!! lol SO glad you're back. and i can relate to EVERYthing you said in this post. some things non-wls people will never understand and one of those is that we didn't make this choice to take the EASY way out! there's SO much work that goes with this!

    and now i need to go dl that app for my phone :)

  8. Excellent post! You said, so perfectly, what needs to be said by so many of us who have had surgery - thank YOU!!

  9. When I am asked "why surgery?" I have come up with this simple answer:

    "Sure, I could lose weight on my own, and have but I knew I would NEVER be thin forever. This will help me keep it off forever."

  10. What a fantastic post! Thank you so much for sharing. I agree, without the VSG, it would have continued to be such a struggle for me to lose weight, due almost wholly to my constant hunger/big appetite. Thanks!