I have several friends and acquaintances that are curious about having surgery, and often ask me about my experience. They see the changes I’ve made, especially if they have not seen me in a long time, and get excited about pursuing that route for themselves. I’m honored that I can be a source of encouragement for anyone looking to have weight loss surgery and improve their health. But I want to make sure that anyone who is considering surgery is really going into it with their eyes wide open.
I’m not going to lie – this is HARD. Really hard. The hardest thing I’ve ever done. Nothing about this process is easy, and for me it’s not gotten any easier even though I’m a year post-op. It’s just about sticking to the rules, despite if you had a good day or bad day.
My biggest concern is someone having the attitude of “I had weight loss surgery, so I’m straight. I can have the chips/cake/cookies, and it’s all good because I had surgery.” I cannot stress enough how much the surgery will not kill those urges for sugar, nor will it make you exercise. The surgery can only do so much with helping to control your eating. And you can really do major damage to your health if you continue your old bad habits after having surgery. So in honor of my friends contemplating having weight loss surgery, I’m making having the attitude of “I had surgery, so I’m straight” the Excuse of the Month.
I’m honestly going to put it out there that I have not been perfect. In fact, far from it. Yes, losing 100 lbs in the past year is great, but I know deep in my heart I could have done better had I stuck to it 100%. Why wasn’t I 100% compliant? I don’t have any excuse; it’s just really hard to do it. Your bad habits don’t die just because you had surgery, and you cannot rely on the surgery to make good decisions for you. It is completely up to you to make healthy choices. And during the times when you indulge in something unhealthy, as I have done, the surgery won’t stop you. It’s crazy how I will get full from eating half a grilled chicken breast, but can still eat a whole jumbo-sized bowl of popcorn with extra butter.
I’ll end this post by saying this – make sure to look at this surgery as a tool that will only work when you use it properly. You’re not completely in the clear to eat and drink whatever you want just because you have surgery. Your first 6-12 months post-op you are going to lose some weight just by virtue of the restriction that the surgery initially provides. Don’t get too comfortable in that phase because trust me, your body will catch up. I already notice how much slower the weight loss is for me at one year out, and it’s pretty frustrating. I still have to work really hard, and with the holiday goodies coming up, saying no will continue to be a challenge.
That’s when you have to remind yourself about why you are doing this in the first place – you want to be healthier, live longer, and be able to do all the things you’ve always dreamed of. You want to see your kids and grand kids grow up. You want to travel. You want to enjoy shopping in regular clothing stores. You want to go to an amusement park and ride on the roller coaster. Whatever it may be, remind yourself daily about your goals as a way to help stay on track.