Friday, January 29, 2010

You Are What You Think

I told you I'd share with you some of my thoughts on gastric bypass surgery and then I got the plague and lost all of my give a shit. Oops!

A few years back I had a coworker get gastric bypass. I remember wigging out a little bit when I found out, because she seemed to be about the same size I was, and I certainly didn't consider myself heavy enough to qualify for or require gastric bypass. Of course, this was a fair few pounds ago, and I've since realized that, generally speaking, I have no real concept of how big I actually am (visually). So I have no idea what the actual comparison might have been.

I remember overhearing a conversation where she was telling a coworker about everything she had to do before the surgery and after the surgery, about what dietary changes she had to make. No more soda, no more fast food, small, frequent, nutrient dense meals. I remember in my head just screaming that if she just did that she'd lose all the weight, anyway, without requiring surgery.

She ended up losing about half her size, I guess. She never did add any kind of exercise and to this day she still has back boobies. Within two years she was back to fast food & Dr. Pepper, although in significantly reduced quantities. Two years after invasive surgery to reduce her weight, she was still carrying on the same toxic lifestyle habits that had gotten her in that pickle in the first place.

A friend of ours also had a coworker who had gastric bypass. She was much larger to start with than my coworker. Our friend asked her about the surgery one day after her coworker had lost most of her weight. Her coworker paused, checked the hall to make sure they were alone, pulled her shirt up, grabbed her big, floppy belly skin with both hands and bounced it up and down while asking "Am I sexy now?"

A funny thing happens when you lose a lot of weight quickly. All the skin you grew to cover up your insides just can't keep up with the shrinkage. By the way, my understanding is that most insurance companies consider fixing that problem to be "cosmetic" and won't cover it. I've heard that some burn centers will perform the surgery for free in exchange for donation of the harvested skin. Although I wonder how often they can do that compared to how many people are going under the knife for this surgery?

I can go on and one with story after story. What it boils down to, I think, is that people don't really make honest, real efforts at losing the weight. We "diet" but feel like we're entitled to "cheating". We consider walking "enough" exercise. We let ourselves slide in a lot of ways and then act like we just can't lose the weight on our own.

Obviously I'm not going to sit here and talk to you like I do a better job at this losing weight thing than anyone else does. I know, quite intimately, all the self-righteous pitfalls we allow ourselves. But I know why I'm not losing the weight.

Yes, there are days when I get really discouraged because I'm not losing weight, but the fact of the matter is I know why I'm not.

When I'm truly honest with myself, I know I'm not losing weight because I'm not doing what I need to do and not because I can't.

The last story I'm going to tell you is about a women SweetPea knew through Adapted PE at the local junior college. She was so overweight that her doctor finally sat her down and told her that if she didn't lose weight she'd be dead within the year.

She contacted the Adapted PE program and was teamed up with one of the trainers. She was given an exercise program suited to her needs and abilities, and provided support, facilities, feedback and accountability.

I don't remember how much weight she'd lost at that point. That's not the point of the story. She could have lost much, much more in the same amount of time by going through gastric bypass. But she chose to take the "natural" way out through diet and exercise.

If you ever feel ashamed to go to the gym, imagine someone who would get so out of breath just walking in that she'd have to start with a break.

Now imagine her going anyway.

1 comment:

Syrlinus said...

Love this post! And never give up!