Frustrated with family

on 3/23/20 5:23 am

Thank you for your advice and support! I'm glad I was referred to this group, I've found it to be more helpful than the in person ones I've attended.

But, you are correct this is our life to live and our decisions to make. And most of the people saying these things, don't understand how it is to be in our shoes with these health issues. I've removed many toxic people from my life. I know my brother will come around eventually, but for now I'm just not going to bring this up unless he does and wants to understand my why. Other than that, I couldn't care less what others think of me.

(deactivated member)
on 3/20/20 10:03 pm

I had surgery more than 5 years ago and have not yet told my wife. I have told even less to anyone else. It's up to you who you tell, but I can guarantee you'll get a lot of misinformed negative feedback. FYI - If it was my brother, I would have told him where to stick it.

on 3/23/20 5:29 am

Out of curiosity was she your wife when you had it done? Just don't know how you'd pull it off without her knowing you've had surgery. Any of my other siblings, I would've told where to go. Being states a way and with having opposite schedules, I haven't had the chance to really talk to him and explain my why. I honestly think in this situation he thought he was being helpful.

on 3/23/20 2:34 pm
RNY on 12/24/14

Hello DC,

Your comments are very commonplace with people familiar with or having experience with WLS. Being one of those with experience I can offer you the following comments for you to consider.

My profile has photos and charts that show where I started (456) and where and when I leveled off (average 220).

Family, friends, and many other people you will have conversations with are usually uneducated about WLS and rely on myths and false perceptions to dissuade you from surgery even though they believe they are concerned for your well being. Any form of surgery is usually viewed as an extreme measure and not readily accepted even for someone other than themselves.

There are many reasons why most people have trouble maintaining a healthy body weight and can be attributed to lifestyle, physical, mental, emotional, and numerous other reasons that center on or are associated with food and exercise. That's why the first thing you will often hear is that the solution is to EAT LESS and EXERCISE MORE.

Your doctor's reference to hormones and metabolism is one way to imply an excess number of calories being consumed (food) and not enough calories being burned (exercise). He may be correct in your case, but the problem of obesity was explained to me by my doctor in much simpler terms and in a way that leads me to accept the idea that WLS was really the main solution beyond the other issues mentioned above (lifestyle, etc).

The explanation I received was similar to the adage that, "you can't fit 10 pounds of stuff into a 5 pound bag". In a similar sense, "you can't put 5 pounds of stuff into a 10 pound bag" and not still be HUNGARY. The human stomach has a great capacity to stretch and expand to allow for more food to be consumed than is needed to experience the sense of being full and hunger being satisfied. It takes time for the brain to receive and send the message that enough food has been eaten just so we don't eat more than necessary. That's one of the reasons that WLS success relies on practices like chewing food more and longer than usual so your brain has time to stop you from eating too much. In the case of having a small pouch rather than a full size stomach you are somewhat forced to follow that requirement or an unpleasant result will occur.

The main point is that anyone that has a stomach that over time has grown to a larger capacity than normal will always have an extremely difficult time to eat less over a long enough period of time to allow the stomach to shrink back to a normal size WITHOUT feeling hungry most of the time. Hunger is an overwhelming sensation that nature employs to help keep us alive. Without getting into the complicated aspects of nutrition (what you eat) and weight control (how much you eat), the simple idea that the best and often times the only way to get back to a normal state of stomach capacity is to medically or surgically reduce the size of the stomach. That reduction in stomach size represents the "tool" that WLS is often referred to as.

At my surgery decision weight of 456 I was told that I would have to lose at least 30 pounds before being approved for surgery along with successfully undergoing other medical tests. I went into surgery weighing 426 and I came out of surgery weighing 426. The only difference was that instead of having a very large stomach I had a very small pouch that was now my new stomach.

The pouch/stomach became the tool that enabled me to follow all of the WLS rules and requirements for experiencing significant weight loss in as short a period of time as healthy and possible. Those rules and requirements were not mentally easy to follow and the mere existence of the pouch/stomach didn't guarantee anything. In my case it wasn't just the process of eating healthy it was also the process of introducing a new level of exercise and physical fitness that my 456 body weight had become an obstacle to.

Mentally I was fortunate to have a support system of family members that offered steady encouragement and assistance in the form of food weighing and portion control, record keeping and goal setting, and monthly photos and body measurement. The greatest mental support and encouragement came from comparing monthly body photos that allowed me to actually see the improvements I was making. With the addition of comparing monthly body measurements there was no doubt that I was reducing in size and that along with scale weight measurements there was never any doubt that from my appearance and my weight and size measurements the decision to undergo WLS was the best decision of my life.

on 3/24/20 5:57 am

Fourkeys, thanks for your input everything you've stated completely makes sense. That could be where my dr was coming from when making that statement. I have tried numerous diets and lifestyle changes. I've always been active and enjoy going to the gym. I was able to lose over 70lbs on my own. In high school I was over 400lbs and was able to get myself down to the low 300's. Over the last 2 years I've slowly put on weight and got back up to the mid 300's even with watching what I'm eating and exercising. It kind of threw my for a loop on the motivation stand point and after years of being told to try by other drs with no real reason other than well you'll lose weight. I was sent to this dr for my high bp and he we had a discussion about the surgery and different things and he kind of took the time to explain things more and I decided I needed to get serious about doing this.

I've hit my weight loss target and they told me from now til surgery as long as I at least maintain they'll be happy if I lose more that'll be great. I've gotten the green light from everyone except behavioral health I haven't had an appointment with them yet. It's scheduled for next week pending they don't cancel with everything going on. Nutrition and the Dr told me they don't see me having an issue getting a greenlight from them. I have surgery class scheduled as well, so hopefully that proceeds as scheduled.

I've used pictures as motivation previously to this and that did help to keep me motivated I plan to do that again. I do have a few close people that support and I tried to branch out to other friends and family to let them know about my decision, but as you said coming from the misinformed background and thinking they know what's best, haven't received the best support. For now I plan to keep it to my inner circle and continue on with my journey.

Thank you for you insight!

on 3/28/20 11:21 am
RNY on 12/24/14


You indicate that, "I've used pictures as motivation previously to this and that did help to keep me motivated I plan to do that again." Motivation is the key to success and especially in the beginning it is not easy to stay motivated because of the significant change in lifestyle and especially if there is a short coming of support from other people. The purpose of forums like this and organized personal support groups are a large help but are no substitute for first hand and intimate support from those around you on a daily basis. They understand your personal issues that are difficult to communicate in support group and online environments. You also started your post with, "Just need to vent for a moment." That suggests that you have had difficulty in communicating your feelings and concerns with those around you and venting shouldn't be necessary with a relative group of strangers that are unwilling or unable to share the "devil in the details" with you.

I rarely see mention in forum posts regarding measurements except as it relates to measuring food intake. Since measuring food is a difficult thing to do, I suspect that it is the first thing that people slack off on because of the inconvenience at home and the inability when not eating at home. Guesswork and estimates don't work! At home the use of a scale that measures ounces and the use of a 1 cup measurement tool are essential to getting off on the right foot. Measuring weight and volume when away from home is accomplished by creating portions before hand that you can take with you. Eating at functions, restaurants, and other cir****tances is the most difficult and using guesswork should be done on the lower end and/or by focusing on the least calorie food items. The above approaches are effective only if you know the calorie, protein, fat, and carbohydrate counts for most if not all the food you are eating. There are numerous sources of that information based on the quantity (weight and volume) of the food you eat. The least talked about aspect of WLS is the extent of effort that has to go into the food eating challenges you will face. Pre-surgery and post surgery requirements are focused on but applying those rules is not easy and especially over the long term when it is easy to slack off.

In addition to using photos to help your motivation the best advice I can offer you in addition to the above is to take partially clad full frontal photos on a month to month basis rather than fully clothed everyday photos. The month to month photos taken in the same pose will help you see changes in your body contour that will begin to show that you are losing weight (size). Each time you take that full frontal photo you need to print it each time and use it as a template to take body mass measurements. Using the same measurement tape record your inches around various easy to measure body parts. Some people measure around their waist or use a belt with holes in it to measure a reduction in size. That's not good enough and is not a true measure of body mass reduction. Body mass (fat) loses don't occur at the midsection first. At least not to a measureable degree compared to other body parts and everybody is different in that regard. Ladies often loose it in the breast and upper arm areas before anywhere else and going by a change in bra size doesn't reflect the incremental changes that you need to stay motivated. Men should measure upper arm and thigh areas in addition to waist and chest measurements. Men and women gain body mass (fat) and lose body mass (fat) in different areas of the body and within each gender not everybody gains and loses in the same way.

The most used and least motivational weight loss tool is the common weight scale especially if they are looking for day to day changes as a reflection of body mass (fat) loss. Body weight is not only due to fat but also due to water retention and other factors. It also varies from night to day and from day to day and neither one has little to do with fat loss. Recording week to week changes in body weight is not as indicative as measuring body weight on a month to month basis and should go hand in hand with your monthly photo and tape measurement sessions. If you don't see reductions in photo views, scale weight, and body measurements after a two (2) month comparison, that would strongly suggest that you are either not succeeding with the food input efforts and/or having motivational problems that need to be more directly addressed. Remember that measures of success will always breed more success (See Photos).

My profile name is "Fourkeys" because it has always been my road map for everything I do and it may be something that will work for you: "Where are we?" (How much do you weigh/appearance?), "Where are we going?" (What is your target weight/appearance?), "How will we get there?" (Everything stated above and then some), and "How will we measure progress along the way?" (Food Name, Weight and Nutrition Contents, Body Photos, Body Scale Weight, and Body Mass Measurements at the very least). Stay focused and good luck!

(deactivated member)
on 3/23/20 8:45 pm

She was my wife at the time; and we've been married 30+ years. That's how I knew she'd never be able to handle it. Virtually everyone I've even hinted at the idea to had badly misinformed views. I felt I had enough on my plate worrying about what I needed to do. This was the first time in my life I put my health first. I told my wife I was having my gallbladder removed and had a friend drive me. To this day, I still feel confident I made the right decision on wls and keeping it to myself. My world did not include a strong and knowledgeable support system.

on 3/24/20 5:38 am

Oh ok, I was just curious how you were able to pull off not telling her. But, I agree with you on the misinformed views. My mom had it a few years ago, so my parents are supportive. Other than that I have a few very close friends, that even if they aren't totally for it, understand my and that it's my decision and respect it. I have one that is just concerned if something goes wrong and I told her, I'm concerned too, but know that if I don't make this decision that the other consequences will be worse. But, she actively wants to learn more about the process and is being extremely supportive so it means a lot.

on 4/14/20 3:50 pm

Hello there, Just checkin' in on ya! Have you had any better news? Have they let up a little (hopefully a lot)?

on 4/15/20 4:35 am

Hey! Thanks for checking in! I haven't talked to my brother since that day. He lives and works out of state so we only talk every few weeks as it is. At the moment I haven't told anyone else or talked to anyone that I know or don't think would be supportive. I have enough on my plate right now working for a hospital pharmacy with everything that's going on, I don't need added stress or negativity. I have my psych eval part of my program tomorrow morning and if all goes well hopefully conferring with the surgeons soon. I had surgery class last week, so things are moving along, but everything has put a hold on things. I'm told it's looking like maybe August for surgery. The hospital system I work at and will be getting the surgery at has now postponed all elective surgeries until at least June 1st. So, just playing the waiting game at the moment. Thanks again for checking in!