Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Accepting Gastric Bypass or Lap Band Surgery

Although I have lost all my pounds without surgery, I accept that for some people a surgical procedure is a necessary component to their obesity recovery. I respect that they made a choice for their body. That decision is none of my business and I wish them great success. In some cases it has saved their life. 

That said, so many people who have such procedures do not manage to eat in a healthy manner after the procedure. That is a concern not only for the future maintenance of their weight loss but also for their chances of living a long and healthy life. This makes me believe that too many of these surgeries are being performed without sufficiently adequate psychological counseling. NO ONE who is willing to have their digestive system unnaturally altered by surgical means WANTS to gain back their weight. NO ONE goes into it thinking it will be acceptable to gain their weight back after a few years. So why do people regain their weight?

If you are like me, a compulsive eater and a food addict - there is an answer.  I am lacking whatever it is normal people have that let's them say no to the next bite day in and day out. Maybe the squirrels inside my brain constantly chant if one is good, a hundred will be better. 

I did not consider surgery for one reason only: I knew that if I had it and could loose weight, I would focus on eating what I wanted, not what was needed for my body. All I would want to eat would be melted ice cream and creamy fatty foods -  and I knew that would lead to more health problems than I already had at 385 pounds. As a child I heard about someone having their jaw wired shut for weight loss> I knew if it was me, I could just get a straw through my uneven teeth, I could still have milkshakes, so what would be the point of getting my jaw wired?

I've known people who have had BOTH procedures (several years apart) and have still gained back a significant portion of their weight. I know someone who had the surgery, lost 200 pounds and became addicted to alcohol - in a profession where it was not tolerated. He lost his credibility completely. He has gained back about 80 pounds. Now he attends a program for the alcoholism but denies he needs help with his emotional eating behaviors. I have a friend who got sick every time she ate anything even three years after her gastric bypass surgery. She bankrupted herself on buying binges - buying new homes, new cars, trips and more outfits than Lady Gaga and Barbie combined. She had corrective surgery to stop the constant sickness and lost all her credit cards and savings to excessive spending. She has since gained back a third of the 90 pounds she had lost.

Some doctors tell their patients it is impossible to recover from their excessive obesity absent surgical intervention. Oh yeah? Wanna bet? Send those doctors to, send them to, send them to, send them to and send yourself to another doctor. 

No matter what tools we pick up in our recovery from obesity and food addiction we must use them with  responsibility and good judgement. It helps to have someone else to listen to besides the squirrels in my own brain. I have a mentor who shares in this recovery from compulsive overeating and food addiction. My mentor is a sane voice outside my head. When I am asked to evaluate my motives and behaviors I do so, whether I see a problem or not. Left to my own devices I could easily find myself navigating a path I have no business exploring.

If you have had any gastric procedures please keep yourself open to seeking the encouragement and support of others who are recovering from obesity. Whether you have had gastric bypass or lap band or no surgery at all it does not matter. What matters is keeping the pounds off and living a wonderful, healthy life.