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Surgical Weight Loss

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My father was the first person I ever knew who had surgical weight loss. He lost a tremendous amount of weight in a relatively short time, and managed to keep it off for the rest of his life.

But he didn't have weight loss surgery.

He had open heart surgery.

It was the early 1980s. I was only 8 years old and he was only 40 when he had a massive heart attack. I don't know how much he weighed at the time, but he was a large man. I don't remember him being "fat", but I remember him not having much of a neck and having a "Santa" stomach. Open Heart Surgery was a cutting-edge procedure back then, it was still being developed. After the surgery, he was kept in the hospital for a long time -- months -- and he couldn't smoke or eat what he wanted. He had to go to cardiac rehab. He learned to exercise. His lifestyle was forcibly changed, and accompanying weight loss was dramatic. It was a very long and difficult recovery process, but he wound up being healthier after that heart attack than he had ever been before it.

I'm almost 40 now. I'm all of 5'2" or 5'3", but I probably weigh more than my 6'2" father did at his heaviest. And as much as I long to follow in his footsteps in many other ways... I really don't want to follow his lead in weight loss. But the reality is that I'm not very healthy right now. I'm not "sick" per se, but neither was my dad before he had his heart attack.

My dad passed away in 2009. A couple of years before, he challenged me to lose weight. Specifically, 50 pounds. Unfortunately, I was heavier when he died than I was when he gave me the challenge. I'm about 15 pounds lighter now than I was at my very heaviest, but I still have a long way to go. I've had temporary weight loss successes -- dropping ~30 pounds on at least three different occasions, only to gain it all back. I've never made it to 50 pound mark.

But I'm optimistic. I don't think I've ever had the kinds of tools that I now have at my finger tips. And this time, I'm not looking for the miracle product or the quick fix. And with the significant milestone of my 40th birthday looming on the horizon... I'm motivated. I'm determined to lose the weight in a way that would make my dad proud: by NOT following in his footsteps.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You'll reach that goal! I'm glad you are making the right steps and right decisions in weight loss.

    So sorry you lost your dad....

    1754 days ago
    Thanks for sharing, it helps me to concentrate on my journey to a healthier lifestyle by making healthier choices one day at a time. Losing weight is just one jewel for making better choices about my health and choosing each day, week or month to move 5 minutes more. I am glad you are here. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1827 days ago
    Wow...this really made me think. Thank you for being so open in your blog. Losing weight is tough and it takes time, but we HAVE time now. A years will go by anyway, right? If we don't do this, well, we rob ourselves of time alive. You're doing terrific. Hang in there!
    1827 days ago
  • JOHGLO2011
    Best wishes to you on your journey to better health! It isn't an easy road, but it is so worth it! And you have a great motivation - go for it. You can do it!
    1827 days ago
    This is a poignant and touching story. There is indeed an important message to be learned from all your dad went through. Only you can lose the weight. There is no quick fix, as we all know. If you think you can, or if you think you can't, either way you are right. Good luck. emoticon
    1827 days ago
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