I found this forum a few days ago and have been reading all the posts religiously. As far as surgery goes...I met with my local WLS VSG coordinator in august. I've been seeing a nutritionist for the past 2-3 months and will be scheduling the necessary appointments that are left to continue onto the next step for surgery.
I wanted to post here because I'm feeling really lost and a little hopeless and wanted to see if anyone had any insight/advice. Im 20 years old, and I've been overweight my entire life.. Ive seen nutritionists as young as 7 or 8 years old. I am constantly trying to lose weight. Every couple weeks/months I say to myself "this is it! I'm doing it" and i can NEVER follow through. I struggle with depression and between that and my weight it is like a constantly cycle of never being able to stay motivated. I know people say to get your depression under control before you can tackle the weight.. but i just can't. Im depressed, but I'm also depressed because of my weight. And I'm over weight because of my depression and its like a hamster wheel.
Has anyone else dealt with this? Im sure lots of people have but could you maybe share your story? I know that the surgery is the right step for me. Its my only option. But i want to know if anyone has been like me? Where they constantly want to lose the weight but can never follow through? I know people say you won't lose it until you really want to.. but i do..
I think that you're not alone.
Could I have lost weight without the surgery and kept it off? Maybe... but I didn't. I feel like surgery gave me the space I needed to work on the mental side of the equation. Surgery took care of the physical part for me (i.e., stomach size) but it wasn't until then that I started working on the mental part. I started seeing a therapist a few months prior to WLS and then, when my previously undiagnosed Binge Eating Disorder came back in full force two years post-op, I sought diagnosis and treatment for that as well. Surgery was the motivator I needed to get the mental stuff under control. Maybe because surgery felt like such a drastic thing to do only to screw up by not getting my brain in order? Getting cut open was definitely a strong push toward tackling my mental health :D
So.. yeah. I don't think you're alone.
Don't expect surgery to "cure" your depression or your loss of motivation, since it won't. All it will do is change your anatomy. However, you can use that time when weight loss is easy in the beginning to start the work of addressing those things so that you'll be set up for long term success!
VSG with Dr. Salameh - 3/13/2014
Diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder and started Vyvanse - 7/22/2016
Reconstructive Surgeries with Dr. Michaels - 6/5/2017 (LBL & brachioplasty), 8/14/2017 (UBL & mastopexy), 11/6/2017 (medial leg lift)
Age 41 Height 5'4" HW 319 (1/3/2014) SW 293 (3/13/2014) CW 149 (7/16/2017)
Next Goal 145 - normal BMI | Total Weight Lost 170
Surgery is by no means a magic wand, but for the first time in my life I am a normal weight, and have the hope of keeping it off. It has given me hope.
It is your new life. We don't get the luxury of not focusing on it. It won't solve all your problems, but it does make life easier in many ways. Do you still have to deal with your stuff? Yes. Do you have to do it all before surgery? No. But you do have to do it.
If you are here, you are already taking steps to own your depression, weight, and on the path to success.
I admitted I needed the help of VSG to get my journey towards health started, including depression. After years of living under #200 I felt horrible at 250, and horrible at 300, and felt I couldn't do it on my own after living for years above #400. I was amazing at how wonderful it felt when I got down to 350 and then to 300. I couldn't imagine how I could so bad about myself on the way up and so good on the way down when the weights were the same.
To me it proves that it's our mindset, self worth, and how we view ourselves that determine our happiness, not our weight. I kept seeing my therapist after surgery for about 18 months. When I stopped, my old habits, old ways of thinking crept back in. For about 6 months I've been trying to turn around the train using lessons from my past and the support of others. I'm back here to again be around the support, advice, and encouragement of others.
Check my blog post in my signature for an abbreviated version of my story (Easy Way Out), and what I have to say to the nay-sayers.
Short version, yes, I felt exactly like you. My life looks completely different now than it did before surgery. I still have chronic health problems, but they're doing better because they're not exacerbated by obesity.
I do suggest that you find a therapist, preferably someone who specializes in eating disorders and body image issues. My only caveat to that is sometimes they're against WLS. But there are therapists out there who have the eating disorder experience who understand WLS is sometimes the best option health-wise. I couldn't have made it as far as I have without my therapist. Surgery doesn't fix your head. :)
Best of luck!!
I am so excited for you! Your whole life is ahead of you and you have every capability of turning your life around. You are definitely moving in the right direction. I, like you, have struggled with depression, but in a different way. I am 55 years old and have always experienced a struggle trying to fit in. Let explain. When I was around 9 to 10 years of age, I always was receiving suggestions that I should start working out, lifting weights, build a 6-pack, and become an Adonis. To make a long story short, this ultimately culminated in a complete joint breakdown when I was 16. As it turned out, I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis when I was 16, and had to quit all sports because I could hardly walk. By the time I was in my thirties, I began undergoing joint replacement surgeries; 2-hips, 1-knee, 1 shoulder, and a spinal disc to date. My whole life I have always struggled with weight because, like you and your depression, every time I would start working out, I would go too far and hurt myself causing me to be laid up for months with severe pain. When that did not work, I started dieting. Every single time I went on a diet, I would lose weight and then gain all the weight back plus some 20 or 30 pounds more. 10 years ago, I started thinking about Bariatric surgery. I went to the info sessions, but then would figure out a way to justify not moving forward. My weight never quit creeping up until two years ago I hit 350 lbs. I started consulting nutritionists through work, which gave me a lot of knowledge, but it was never the magic bullet, which I would conclude later does not exist. Ultimately my rheumatologist ordered me to consult with a bariatric surgeon because weight had become my biggest enemy. I thought Bariatric surgery, that would be easy given the physical challenges that I was facing. Well you know, God has a sense of humor. I was told through my evaluation for surgery that I may have binge eating disorder and was ordered to begin meeting with a Psychologist and a Nutritionist. Over the next year, I learned so much about myself that I will never regret spending that time to talk to professionals about how I am feeling. I was always embarrassed that I was forced to jump through the psychologist hoop, but ultimately it helped me understand why I behave like I do and also equipped me with tools to manage my behavior. I decided not to have the surgery. Well, about year later, I had gained weight to 365 lbs. That was 1 year ago. Since that time I have lost a total of about 110 lbs.; I just had my surgery last November 29. When I left the hospital, which was a life threatening ordeal, I was 306 lbs. Since that time I have lost 50 lbs. Why am I telling you all this? In my life, I never thought I would get married or have children. I mean, who would want to marry someone with a chronic disease and messed up like me? But you know, I have been blessed with a beautiful wife and two wonderful children. You'd think that that in itself would help me with my depression, but it did not. The reason why, is all my life I have been told what I cannot do by doctors, family, friends, colleagues at work, etc. I have always set myself up for failure, until I began working with Bariatric Psychologists. I always played the victim. It's not my fault, it's my arthritis! It's not my fault, it's my depression! It's not my fault, it is the diet ... stupid diet! The habit I have lived my life under is a perception that I am not worthy of happiness or good health. I was a great actor at being happy, but I have always beat myself up because by doing that, I would fulfill my own self prophecy that I am limited. I have finally come to terms with the fact that I have a disability and that I have a choice; I can choose to allow my disability to govern my life or I can learn to live a healthy and productive life by embracing my disability. The preparation that I went through with psychologists and nutritionists was priceless. I have learned that with all the dieting that I did, I completely messed up my physiology. I could not keep weight off if I tried, because I was not changing my thinking and perceptions. In my opinion, surgery should not be perceived as the answer to the problem. Surgery is nothing more than a tool to be used to change; change my life, change my eating habits, change my perceptions, but mostly change from being a victim of myself and embracing my own accountability. Two years ago, I was hopeless and dying and it seemed as though there was no light at the end of the tunnel. Through embracing the opportunity to work with psychologists, applying what I learned, and trusting that the experts have my best interest in mind, I have not embraced that I am in control of my destiny and my future has never been brighter. By being completely honest with myself and my family, as well as having faith that I am in control of my destiny, I have emerged from a very dark and lonely place inside of myself to a life of good health and opportunity. What I do with that from this point on is completely in my control. Please Please Please, do not allow your insecurities, loneliness, and depression rob you of your young years. Be honest with yourself and embrace the lifestyle because having surgery is not the end-all; it is only the means to jumpstart your new life. You will be successful! You will be completely full of hope and opportunity! And, you will succeed as long as you embrace a changed life. No more self-victimization through depression. No more self-victimization through justifying bad decisions. No more victimization as a result of self-sabotage. I think everyone here has been exactly where you are; hopeless, sad, lonely, and angry. I know that I have and I personally will never allow myself to go back to hopelessness of life that I was living prior to my surgery. Everyone, please forgive the length of this note. I am very passionate about the challenges that young people face these days. It seems to me that the world is much more cruel and less accepting than it was when I was young.