Okay folks, full disclosure here: after twenty-plus years of struggling with weight, weightloss and the assorted side effects of the condition, I bit the bullet and went for gastric bypass surgery.
Before anyone lectures me about this decision that I made at the age of 35 after many attempts at weight loss (followed by my doctor and a dietician, Dr. Bernstein twice – the last time ending up with me hospitalized, Weight Watchers countless times, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, etc. etc. etc.), I did my research, assessed the risks and decided that it was the way to go after discussing with my family doctor, my partner and my family.
Believe me the risks of the surgery do NOT compare to the risks of maintaining my weight as it was going. I already had hypertension and required THREE medications to keep it down to a “high-normal” limit, I had been diagnosed with sleep apnea and required a CPAP to sleep through the night and NOT STOP BREATHING and was well on the way to knee and hip problems. Not to mention the low back pain, possibility of developing diabetes and other health issues due to obesity.
Since the surgery, I have never felt better, however I am often asked the same questions over and over again. So I shall summarize my answers here:
- Yes I feel great!
- It IS hard work!
- So far 6 shirt sizes and 22 inches off my waist line and yes, over 229 lbs at this point.
- It is a combination of eating right, eating less, and exercise. The surgery was a tool to help with my hunger issues and it also has the added effect that the wrong foods make me physically ill.
- Yes, despite the side effects and setbacks, I WOULD do it again.
- I now weigh less than I ever had since grade 8 which is when I first started being weighed.
- The surgery WAS a last resort, however it was a drastic decision resulting from a drastic problem. I had done Dr. Bernstein, Weight Watchers and several medically followed diets with a doctor and nutritionist. None of these offered permanent success or amounted to the needed changes in lifestyle and thought patterns.
- Yes, I have had counselling to deal with my food issues and, believe it or not, have had to go through the mourning process regarding certain foods I know I’ll never be able to eat again.
- Yes, my family has been supportive, although with any elective surgery involving a drastic replumbing of my innards, yes they were concerned but are now happy with my progress.
- Yes, my family doctor has been involved with this process and supportive every step of the way. He does however defer to the experts in the field of weight loss (bariatrics).
- Since the surgery, I have been followed by the surgeon, my psychologist, the bariatric nurse, nutritionist and social worker. I have blood work every three months to ensure I am getting proper nutrition and see at least the nurse and nutritionist for reviews as often.
- I can eat most everything, however have to focus on getting healthy lean proteins first, followed by vegetables, fruit and then grains/starches/carbs.
- What I cannot eat is an easier list: high fat foods, fried foods, carbonated beverages, foods high in sugar or high glycemic index foods. While I can eat foods like steak, etc. they do give me some difficulties.
- I’m consuming approximately 900 to 1000 calories a day, but I don’t really count ’em. But I do make sure I’m getting the appropriate amount of protein and carbohydrates in a day.
- Do I cheat? No because I get something called dumping syndrome if I look at the wrong food. The long and short of it is that if I eat something high in sugars or fats, my body dumps it into my lower digestive tract and it makes me VERY VERY sick!
- Do I get bummed out and depressed? Yes sometimes, but I have been referred for counselling to help with this.
- I currently ride my bike to and from work (10 miles total) on days when weather is agreeable. I am in the gym 3 days a week, more if the weather is crummy and I can’t ride, plus I have a yoga class once a week.