OK, I will be the first to admit it: I used to get REALLY impatient by my slow progress, and it still chafes from time to time. That impatience used to be strong enough to make a girl consider more drastic measures including, albeit only occasionally, weight loss surgery. Then, I read some blogs. Then, I read even more scientific articles. Then, a friend had the Roux-en-Y (with horrible complications that nearly killed her AND she didn't keep much of the weight off!). The bottom line decision I made many years ago: weight loss surgery was NOT for me. I wanted to do it myself, and I wanted to do it safely. I admit I now have some pride that whenever people ask me why I don't have bariatric surgery (and, yes, they DO ask), I answer: because I'm doing it all by myself. Sure, it's slow, but it's all me.
Well, last week the Wall Street Journal (not exactly my news source of choice) published an article about new types of weight loss procedures: all using devices and endoscopes. Furthermore, all are reversible and can be done primarily outpatient. So, I read the article (which you can find here: online.wsj.com/article/S
I hate to admit it, I was a little intrigued. Thankfully, I am over my desire for a "quick fix", but still a small part of me was asking: Could this maybe help? Could it cut my (currently projected) four years for loss down to, say, 2.5? Sure, I don't want to lose weight super quickly any more because I want it to be safe and life-long... but what if it could go just a *little* faster with some medical help?
But the more of this article I read, the more I started thinking, "But why does FAST loss matter so much?" That was what each of these procedures touted: fast loss, some of them "even faster" than surgical methods.
Why was speed THAT important?
Imagine I have diabetes from obesity. Thankfully I don't (yet?), but let's say I do. Let's also say I have high cholesterol and high blood pressure (again, I don't). Would FAST weight loss change any of this so much faster than slower, but steadier, loss?
From what I know about physiology, I'm inclined to say no. I really don't think that losing 200 pounds in 1 year over 3 years is going to cure you of those diseases any more quickly. In fact, I can think of more problems that rapid loss would introduce that the slow loss wouldn't.
#1: SKIN. Skin-reduction is a huge issue for people, even younger people, with rapid loss. A part of me is really excited that my super steady loss may mean that I have less baggy skin at the end.
#2: MUSCLE TONING. If you're losing weight and toning concurrently, not only do you minimize issue #1 with skin, but you're a healthier, fitter person when you finally reach goal weight. Losing weight so fast, on the other hand, means you could not have exercised or toned the equivalent amount you would in 3 years of steady loss. Furthermore, your body would be shocked by the sudden decrease in food... and fatigue and sluggishness can be a real problem after weight-loss procedures, at least at first.
#3: HABITS. If you're losing weight quickly and effortlessly because of a device, and it's reversible, AND you could always have it done again... and again... what possible incentive is there to CHANGE YOUR LIFE? I'm not implying that people undergoing these procedures don't change habits. I know many do. I know about the mandatory counseling. I know, for many, it is the best option. And I respect that. But, I could see that with these new procedures, we may have to be even more cautious in the screening process. Otherwise, it could just turn into an enabling device, rather than a weight loss device.
For me, it really comes down to #3 as to why I will never, ever elect for a weight loss procedure. Well, that and self-pride and self-love. I'm not turning my nose up at it, and I know it helps people. But, for me, it wouldn't help. I know that about myself. Sure, I have good habits now. I might even pass the mandatory counseling just fine. But it's not for me. **I** still need to be the one who does this. I still need to be the one who takes complete responsibility for every morsel that goes in my mouth and every calorie I burn. It's not just about control. It's about learning to love and care for myself. If I had a device implanted, it would be the device forcing me to take care of myself, not ME. I wouldn't be healing myself emotionally as well as physically in the same way that I am by doing this one pound, one day, one step, one breath at a time.
So, yes, my loss is slow, but it's steady. I'm beating this. I deserve to fight this hard for myself and my health.
And, hey, maybe my skin won't be so loose when I'm done, either.