Describe your behavioral and emotional battle with weight control before learning about bariatric surgery.
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I have been on all the popular weight-loss programs from Weight Watchers, Ginny Craig, even things like hypnosis. I have no problem losing weight and it is really easy for me. I am always the star of any weight loss class I am in, and lose many many pounds per week. But I always gain it back and I don't really know how or when I started gaining back. I weigh very often but all of a sudden I start going up and I reevaluate my plan and try to go back but it seems like no matter what I do it is a study march back to the weight I was.
I worked in a Law Enforcement environment most of my working life. I was working on a project at a police academy and the dietitians there knew I had life long weight problems and asked me if I would participate in a two week project. I agreed as I could not leave the academy not even on weekends for that time. Another law enforcement person of normal wight and I were stationed together and fed the exact same food each day. There was no way I could get anymore food unless someone smuggled me some, which did not happen. We both had the same physical activity which included a little basketball and pool. To make the story short, the other fellow lost some weight and I gained 8 pounds. The dietitians just shook their heads. This is typical.
For me to loose weight I have to live a Spartan life with much heavy exerciser, and eating almost starvation portions. For instance, when I was on Ginny Craig, I lost weight but soon could not loose weight after the first few weeks, even being very strict and exercising each day very hard, like I said up to 6 miles a day running. What I did was, divide each meal with my wife and then I did loose wight. I did reach my goal which was almost 200 pounds and paid $5,000 for a tummy tuck but again I found myself back to over 300 pounds. That is when I found out about WLS and set myself up to have the surgery.
What was (is) the worst thing about being overweight?
I developed diabetes, very bad and was on Insulin and heart medications. I had high cholesterol , and had to take medications for high blood pressure. I had sleep apnea very bad and had to be hooked up to a machine each night. I seldom had a good nights sleep. My bones especially in my legs, feet and knees were failing. I had already had to have both of my knees undergo surgery and even with that I could hardly walk. I was always out of breath and my heart would race and beat very hard just doing normal tasks around the house.
I was slowly dying and I am my doctors knew it was just a matter of time. I could not live a life that I really enjoyed. I found myself becoming more and more reclusive and withdrawn from society in general. I did not want family and friends to see me in such a state. I lost all interest in taking care of myself and had resolved to enjoy what I could for as long as I lived and of course this attitude included eating anything I felt I wanted. The weight was just going up and up and I had no real idea or inspiration to stop the trend.
A friend of mine told me he was going to have gastric bypass surgery and was in the pre-operation diet phase. He had the same health insurance as I and told me they were now covering the surgery and I should apply. I did just that and was approved an on the way in about 5 months. This time included all the tests and training before the surgery. On May 9, 2012 I had the surgery and it went very well with little pain or complications at all.
If you have had weight loss surgery already, what things do you most enjoy doing now that you weren't able to do before?
In the past 6 months I have lost over 120 pounds. I have adjusted my eating to the plan I was given and find it completely satisfying. I am eating just about anything I want to eat with of course not having foods that caused me problems in the past. I would never have thought I could eat so little and still be satisfied.
Now I just love the fact that I can exercise and my body does not feel like I am going to fall apart. I have so much more energy and even look for things to do around the house. I can swim, walk without having my heart rate go up much at all. My diabetes is gone, and I no longer have to take any medications other than the dietary supplements recommended by my surgery team.
Before surgery my pants size was 54 inches around the waste. Now I am into a lose 34. That is right down 20 inches. I went from a size 3XXX in T shirts to a large now and they are really big on me, but I like them like that. I know what to dress up and look good. My social life has become so much better and I love going out with friends and family.
I am now looking forward to life. My doctors feel as good about what I have done as I feel. They say, it was the best thing I could have ever done for myself, and I agree.