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My Personal View of Weight Loss Surgery

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I get put in a position every time I say that my personal journey was without weight loss surgery. People assume that means I am against it all together and look down upon those who had it. In fact, I am simply trying to encourage people like myself that tried for the surgery and chose not to have it because of fear or medical or insurance reasons. People that cannot have or are afraid of the surgery need hope too.

I tried 4 times for the surgery and was finally approved. When I went to the support meetings beforehand, those talked me out of it. Everyone there was still complaining of having emotional eating issues. Many were hungry after they just ate. They still had cravings, hated exercise and were put on a VERY restrictive diet. So is it an easy fix? No. Can they gain their weight back if they aren't as diligent as any other person trying to manage a full on life style change? Yes. But they do it with the extra pain of surgery and never being able to go back. They get sick physically if they eat too much and have tummy issues from eating too much sugar for the rest of their lives. So hats off to anyone who was so desperate to save their life and their health that they would risk so much.

Very very inspirational examples of the journey and weight loss heros of mine are Hoosiergirlindy (with surgery), Kitt52, and Crazymama46 (without surgery) are all here on SparkPeople for you to check out.

If you decide you are interested in the surgery, take the time before it seriously. Try to get in the best shape of your life to have the healthiest results while they are approving things. You may find, like I did, that the meetings are an eye opener and you start losing on your own. Or you just may get healthy enough to have a successful surgery.

What counts is that we give hope to others, and that is what I'm tring to do, not put down anyone's choice. For example my blogs that do not mention that I have not had weight loss surgery sometimes get comments like "Too bad this can't be done without weight loss surgery" or people assume I've had the surgery because of the amount I've lost. I want to clearly cheer on the people who cannot have or are afraid of the surgery and give them confidence, so I say that I did it without weight loss surgery. When I do that, I alienate the people who have had the surgery by making them feel as if I am against the surgery. Truly, I am just talking about my personal journey and not judging anyone. I applaud getting healthy and changing your life style. It just frustrates me to try to motivate and help when any way I speak of my journey is wrong according to someone.

I'm blogging so often and being so open with my life to help others. Whether it's my sunny days, advice days, depression days, imperfect days, or epifany days, I will be here sharing and honestly caring about my readers.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post

    This a personal choice. I am not critical of someone who chooses weight loss surgery.I wish them well, even though weight loss surgery is not for me.

    Thanks for sharing.
    277 days ago
    I've been reading your blogs and came across this one. I am generally against bariatric surgery, except in very few desperate cases as a very last resort. I think it's done far too freely. Pretty much anybody who wants to can get it. I know several people who have had weight loss surgery. They did well at first and lost a lot of weight, but eventually started gaining and now they are right back where they started. From what I've read statistically only 5% of people who have bariatric surgery are successful at losing and keeping weight off.

    My sister had the duodenal switch surgery about four years ago. She lost over 100 pounds and has kept it off, however I don't think it's because she is eating much healthier. I've seen what's in her refrigerator and pantry. I think the only reason she manages to keep the weight off is because she exercises like a maniac. She jogs, and goes to spin class several times a week.

    My sister along with several other people I've met who had the DS surgery have problems with absorbing minerals post surgery. They have to go to the doctor regularly for infusions of iron and magnesium because their bodies can't absorb enough. They also have the same tummy troubles as other types of bariatric surgery from too much sugar.

    I think there are too many people who go into weight loss surgery with the wrong mindset looking at it as a quick fix to lose a lot of weight fast. It took many years to gain a lot of weight so why would you expect to lose it quickly? Surgery should be considered carefully. There can be major complications, and there are permanent after effects that others have mentioned. It's a very drastic way to alter your body, and most types of bariatric surgery can't be reversed. Once part of your stomach and small intestine are gone, they are gone forever.

    Bariatric surgery doesn't fix what's going on in your head. The cravings and emotional reasons why you over eat to begin with are still there. I went to a couple of support meetings with my sister before she had weight loss surgery and heard many of the same things that you said. People talked about how they had to lose some weight before they could even have the surgery to demonstrate that they could be disciplined enough to live the post surgery lifestyle. I though if they could do that, why did they need surgery to continue to lose weight?

    I came to the conclusion that either way, surgery or not, it's a lifestyle change. To be successful you have to make healthier food choices, control portions, count calories, and exercise. If you have to do those things anyway, why add the lifetime after effects of bariatric surgery. I'm very inspired and motivated by people like you Beth. You are living proof that someone can lose a lot of weight and keep it off without surgery, diet pills, fad diets, or any other kind of gimmicks to lose weight. Don't feel like you have to apologize for your opinion. You did it with true grit and I think that's the best way.
    654 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/10/2014 4:42:35 PM
    877 days ago
    You can't please everyone, no matter how hard you try.

    I always found it encouraging when you said "without WL surgery". I am 303 and have always been overweight. It's one of the reasons I watch Biggest Loser, for the same reason. I was down to 263 for a long time, and some of those women start out on BL as much as 263. If they could do it . . . it meant I had a chance.

    When I get if off, and after I've kept it off for more than a few years, I might have skin removal surgery. But that is the only surgery I'll ever have, personally as my choice.

    Like you, I applaud whatever courageous acts people take to save your own life. Jesus said to take drastic action if necessary. A little out of context, but He said in Proverbs 23:2, " . . . put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. So I do not look down on people who "put a knife" to their bodies. At least they have the courage to take drastic action to save their life. A far from perfect solution, with frequent patient deaths and unreversible side effects: but sometimes drastic actions are necessary.
    886 days ago
    I think u r awesome Beth & u definitely r an inspiration to me! Keep up the great work & blogs! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    966 days ago
    I'm not against surgery either, but I do think that those that have surgery have difficulties afterwards. No one should go into it thinking that it will be a total solution to everything. There is still a lot of work on that person's part to fix the way they see food and exercise.
    1030 days ago
    Thanks for sharing. I think you're absolutely right that people who are trying to go about it without the surgery need to know it can be done and be encouraged by your story, so it's great that you are sharing it. It's too bad that people who are going about it with surgery are feeling alienated or offended. Everyone's journey is not the same, and some resonate with certain people and some don't. Hopefully people will be able to recognize that even if your story doesn't resonate with them personally it is still worth being told because it may inspire someone else.
    1031 days ago
    I love your blog. Thanks for sharing. I know what you mean about trying to encourage people on their journey. I did not have as much to lose as you started with but it has been a dramatic journey for me also. People really have to see me to believe it can be done. When I saw my niece, she looked and me and sat down and wanted to know just how I had lost the weight. We talked about my food choices, etc. the one thing she has not been able to give up is soda. Her husband looked at her and remarked, she what happens when you give up that much sugar. She texted me that she has not had a soda since Monday...I remarked one day at a time
    1092 days ago
  • v ANEWDEB1
    Loved your blog. You are right because everything doesn't work for everyone. I chose surgery and was basically a text book case. I did what I was told, lost the weight and never had any problems or illness. But I have friends who were not so successful. I am blessed to be one of the few people who don't have emotional eating issues. After a battery of tests prior to the surgery, the psychiatrist told me that I was a well rounded, emotionally sound young lady who just happens to really love food. I'm thankful but I am also sympathetic to those who struggle with emotional issues. I don't think it's a good idea for those who are not emotionally sound to have surgery because it presents a host of other problems. I commend you for loosing that much weight without surgery, it was the right thing for you to do. Continue to motivate others and don't worry about what people say.
    1140 days ago
    Thank you. I have often thought about surgery, but you summarized all my concerns. The surgery would not change my thinking with regards to food.
    1147 days ago
    1148 days ago
    Beth, this is the type exchange of info I hoped to find on SP rather than some of the silly 1 word or 1 emoticon responses. Thank you for that.

    Is there anyone who is more than 20 lbs overweight who has not dreamed of instant gratification though a quick trip under the knife? I've wondered about it, but hearing what a friend went though just in preperation for the surgery was more than I could dream of handling. I can't seem to stay on an organized diet plan for more than 1 or 2 meals, how could I expext to survive the prep or the post-surgery requirements. A combo of healthy eating and intelligent exercise is the only way to go for good wt loss and wt mgmt.
    1152 days ago
    You are doing wonderful, with or without surgery. Great job!
    1157 days ago
  • v 1SALMON1
    You are doing GOOD work here. Even though you have to keep repeating and explaining your perspective -which might get tiresome - you're helping and inspiring who knows how many people!? It's wonderful! Thank you for your great effort, your success, and your sharing!
    1158 days ago
  • v TAMI1836
    Thanks for your post! I have been seriously considering surgery! This will help me to keep in mind eithier way of what i choose your post was very helpful !! Thanks
    1162 days ago
  • v MONTREAL12
    emoticon You did it! Thanks for inspiring the rest of us; especially me, who is always looking for the easy way out! emoticon
    1162 days ago
  • v AQUAGIRL08
    emoticon Thanks for sharing!
    1163 days ago
    1163 days ago
    I have a friend that's a NP and she does the follow up after people have had the surgeries and she told me not to have it done unless it's "life and death" as a lot of people come in with worse problems then before they had it done... I have seen both sides, people who have done it and liked it, and those who didn't. I have no thought on what others do.. but, like you, I figure if I can only eat a little after surgery I might as well apply that truth now. Plus, I'm learning [here on SP] what triggers food binges and other emotional eating. I had no clue part of my emotional response was to dull my senses [the pain] with food.. because of verbal & emotional abuse. I learned that here and I'm in my 50's... emoticon
    1163 days ago
  • v GINA180847
    I had a day like that yesterday too and ate 3 brownies. But this morning there you are to remind me to get back to my healthy lifestyle and I surely will today.
    1164 days ago
    I know what you mean about people getting the wrong idea of personal opinion on weight loss surgery. I don't believe in it because of the things you mentioned such as living your life being sick because of eating too much or not handling too much sugar. It is not reversible and it doesn't change the thought in your head or having to watch nutrition and get exercise. Problems all start in the mind and to have a problem physical from surgery just isn't worth it. Kudos to you!
    1164 days ago
    Thanks for sharing! Your blogs are truly inspirational!
    1164 days ago
    Thanks for sharing
    1165 days ago
    yep, there are no easy fixes, but we have to make the choice knowing the hurdles and knowing ourselves.
    1166 days ago
    As they say, you can't please all of the people all of the time.
    But you, my friend, can sure inspire a whole heck of a lot of people!
    Whether heavier, slimmer, had surgery or didn't, inspiration is just that: inspiring.
    And that's what you do.
    You have the heart of a teacher and we appreciate you showing all you've learned.
    Keep rocking on!

    1166 days ago
  • v BRENDA7511
    Keep sharing YOUR YOUR way....know that YOUR story is an inspiration to MANY PEOPLE!

    1167 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/16/2013 6:51:37 AM
  • v JULIERAE41
    Thanks for writing this. So many times I said i wanted the surgery. My DH asked me one question and changed my mind. He asked, " Do you really think you could stick with that type of restrictive diet for the rest of your life?". It was a sincere and non-judgemental question from someone who loves and cares about me and wants me to have the things that will make me happy. The answer was NO WAY could I ever stick with such a diet. I know a husband and wife who have both had the surgery and they keep each other strong. I know another gal who had it and did not have success due to inability to stick with the plan.
    I also lift my hat to those who have done it and have had success long term. They are some iron willed folks. God bless!
    1167 days ago
    Thank you for your view points. Too often people are looking for quicker fixes, but it really needs a lifestyle change and a mindset change. I look at food differently now. I actually enjoy it more now since I see it for its true purpose and make a point of enjoying it. I don't use food to destroy me, but to keep me healthy.
    1167 days ago
    Keep telling your truth as you experience it. Some people will misunderstand, some will argue for the sake of argument, and some will simply not 'get' the idea that what works for you works for you, and you're not telling them what to do. .

    You've accomplished amazing things here, and are an inspiration to so many people. Don't let a few people -- and it is only a very few -- discourage you from sharing. emoticon

    1167 days ago
    I am in awe of the amount of weight that you have lost! I look at your pictures often as an inspiration!!! I have my ups and downs and lots of medical issues which hinder my weight loss and lessens my activities often but I "keep on truckin" as they say. I'm not giving up!!! I want to lose another 25# plus the almost 25# that I have already lost and will keep on working at it no matter how long it takes me!!

    There is a saying that goes "You can please some of the people all the time but you can't please all of the people all the time".

    Keep on doing what you're doing!! Keep up the good work!! and Thank you for your blogs.

    Judy emoticon
    1167 days ago
    It seems today if someone has a different opinion from someone else they are sometimes thought of as being "negative" instead of just a person with a different opinion. The few people I know that had the surgery have had many physical problems from it and before the surgery they were mostly just fat without a lot of physical complications. I think it is great for those that have had it and are happy with it but for those with all the new medical problems, I feel so bad for them.

    1167 days ago
    Something to think about. Thank you!
    1167 days ago
    Thanks for sharing your views. I agree that one needs to deal with the issues rather than a fast fix of surgery, but am all for it for others who need/want it.
    1167 days ago
  • v TEDYBEAR2838
    Keep doing what you are doing. Anyone who knows you
    and takes time to know your heart, will understand. Those
    who don't? Well, you just can't please everyone so don't
    even try!

    Warm emoticon
    1167 days ago
  • v MEEMAH2013
    I have two sisters that had lap band. One did well for a couple years and then started to put the weight back on little bit at a time and now she is struggling to get it back down. The other is having a hard time loosing her weight. I have seen them go through food getting stuck, chewing their food 50 times each bite, and having a hard time with some foods because they don't go down well. I didn't want that. I wanted to loose mine with out the aggravation they seem to go through, And now that I have had several weeks to see how this plan works, I don't understand how they chose the surgery! Well, actually I think I do....they seem to have wanted to lose weight without having to work at it.. I am not judging them. It may be right for them. But I want to be healthier all the way around. Losing weight is just the bonus! I know with all certainty that Spark People is the one for me!
    1167 days ago
    I too considered WLS, but my insurance wouldn't pay for it, and I could NOT justify that expense. My daughter-in-law had the surgery, and she failed. she lost 75 pounds quickly, then reverted to her old eating habits and gained it all back, and has made no attempts to try again to lose weight, in the 7 years since.

    Any weight loss has to be done with a mindset of eating right, making good choices, and trying to get some exercise, for the LONG TERM. Although WLS might result in an initial loss, like you say, you have long-term detrimental effects from it, and often regain the weight anyway.

    I am in awe of anyone who has lost weight and kept it off for any period of time. I myself lost 175 lbs. and as of today, have kept it off for 23 months--only one more month til I give myself a TWO-YEAR maintenance badge. I am almost prouder of keeping it off than I am of the actual weight loss, because keeping the weight off is something I always failed at before. And I too, don't care what method people used to lose weight, even WLS, because WLS is just a tool for weight loss, it is definitely not a magic bullet!! Even with WLS, you have to put in the work and effort for the rest of your life!!!
    1167 days ago
  • v ELIZABETH5268
    I think it's good that you show it can be done without and that you are also here for advice people may not get elsewhere if they do decide to do it. If you try to please everyone you'll fail so your honesty in all aspects is very encouraging and motivational:)
    1167 days ago
  • v REBECKY441
    1167 days ago
  • v JEM2929
    Just wanted to say I loved reading this blog, it felt so true to me that I thought you pulled it right out of my mind. Thanks for being honest.
    1167 days ago
  • v FITBY40-2015
    funny thing is, whenever i read your blogs and if it says anything about how you did it without surgery the only thing i get out of this is inspiration, believing in yourself that if your ready and willing to give it your all you can . congratulations on your journey look awesome!!! emoticon
    1167 days ago
    Great topic! WLS is not for everyone and it is definitely NOT an easy fix as some believe. I have seen successes and failures come of it. We all have to do what we believe is right for us but it is very important to research your options and be honest with yourself. There really is more to weight loss then meets the eye. We all have our own journey to live.
    I love your story!
    1168 days ago
  • v SOPHIEDO13
    Thanks for the blog, my husband clued me into some of the side effects I've lost 12 pds in 1.5 yrs I've actually lost more but gained 10 pds back. But I'm at it again, I'm in better shape physically now and with yoga more limber. Glad to hear you accomplished this on your own and don't have to deal with life long effects of surgery. emoticon
    1168 days ago
  • v RUNGRL2013
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1168 days ago
    Thanks for clearing that up. I'm sure there are many who have wondered about it. I vaguely thought about it, but I figured if I were capable of eating the small amounts that are required after the surgery, why would I need the surgery? I know people who have been successful with it and people who have gained it all back. I just never thought it was right for ME. Somehow, we need to live and let live.
    1168 days ago
  • v BLUEJEAN99
    1168 days ago
    I gree it is a personal journey but I do believe avoiding surgery is always best if you can.You have done a remarkable job !
    1168 days ago
  • v 610PEACH
    I would think that people would only respond negatively to you if they are feeling badly about the choices they've made. I think you make it very clear, in what I've read, that you're talking about choice, your way--not commenting on someone else's. I enjoy reading what you write. Thanks for your effort and honesty.
    1168 days ago
    Well put
    1168 days ago
    you are a great inspiration to all of us thanks
    1168 days ago
    Hi Indygirl,
    I read all your blog entries and find them inspiring. I usually don't comment because there is always someone who has conveyed my sentiments better than I could have done.
    Bariatric surgery is certainly one of the last resorts and becoming healthy through lifestyle changes, good nutrition and exercise the way you did is absolutely the best route. I did have a gastric lap band placed when I was 57 years old. Luckily there have been no complications and I was able to live up to the commitments that the surgery required in order to be successful.
    1168 days ago
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