Top Ten Reasons Weight Loss Surgery is NOT the Easy Way Out
Before you even have bariatric surgery, you need to complete the pre-op diet.
This can be 2-4 weeks and is no bloody joke. Pre-op diets vary but as a basic plan you have 2 very low calorie shakes each day and then 100grams of lean protein and green vegetables. You go to bed hungry. You probably have to give up tea and coffee. But you will get through it.
After surgery, that’s when the real work begins. And here are my top 10 reasons as to why surgery is not fucking easy.
1 – You will feel alone
There is still a stigma about bariatric surgery, regardless of whether it will save your life or not. Even though I was completely open and honest about what I was doing right from the start, once I had surgery, few friends checked in on me to see if I was doing okay. And the invitations to dinners and events stopped. I still don’t really know why. Lack of understanding maybe? A lot of our social gatherings are based around eating and drinking and especially whilst you are healing, these events can make you anxious or nervous. You do learn to manage them but you may need to educate your friends to the fact that you might not be able to fully participate but you would still like to attend, or at least be invited. Some days I still wish I had done this secretly to avoid some of the shame from the comments I get for having taken the “easy way out.”
2 – You will spend an awful lot of time worrying about your bowels
There’s not really a middle of the road for the first 12 months – you either worry that you ate something that will make you poop your pants in public or that you haven’t eaten enough fibre or drunk enough water and you will be constipated for the next few days. This is very very real and not very nice at all.
3 – You will be tired, very very tired
Recovery can be very tough and take longer than you expected. Give yourself a break! Do what you can, not necessarily what you think you should be doing and allow your body to adjust. You will bounce back – promise.
4 – Every meal is a mini maths exam in your head
How long has it been since I had something to drink? I cannot drink for half an hour after eating and I shouldn’t eat for at least half an hour after drinking.
How much protein have I had today? I need 70-100g to keep everything functioning … so .. how much protein is in that?
Are there any hidden sugars?
What’s the fat content per 100g?
Can I eat all of that? … just a sample of my thoughts from every meal, every day.
5 – You will blow your clothing budget
As the weight comes off, you need new clothes. And shoes, glasses, jewelry and hats. I warn you – your feet, face, and hands shrink as fast as everything else. You need compression pants, sports bras, possibly even a corset to hold your loose skin in place. It’s a very real expense.
6 – You must take your vitamins, every day, for the rest of your life
Your intake is restricted so you need supplements. I take a multi-vitamin, a B12 tablet and two calcium tablets every day. I have blood tests every 3-4 months and depending on the results, sometimes need an iron infusion.
7 – Vomiting is not fun & dumping, that is even worse
It can take months, years, to work out which food sit alright with you and which don’t. On a good day, some foods will give you the foamies (fluffy gunk in your mouth), some will make you feel nauseous and some will cause you to vomit. There’s a reason I do a lot of cooking at home – so I know what goes into my meal. On a bad day, you can have dumping syndrome. This can be one or all of; headaches, intense sweating, stomach cramps, heart palpitations, diarrhea, vomiting and weakness. Sounds like fun doesn’t it?
8 – You are courageous to defend your decision
I had to eventually admit to myself, my family and my Dr that my obesity had gotten so far out of control that I needed surgical help. Do you have any idea how hard that was? No, most people have no idea and will never know. The majority of the world still thinks that it is okay to make fun of obese people (fat, overweight – whatever noun you choose to use) but this world also fails to see that as much as it is a physical disease, it is mental too. You may have been right to call me weak once, you cannot call me weak now. The operation itself might have only taken 2-4 hours but my recovery and rehabilitation will take the rest of my life.
9 – You are even more courageous to continue to make healthy living choices
Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t have weight loss surgery to ‘get skinny’. I had surgery to get healthy. Other people can get healthy by changing their eating and moving more. I got healthy by having surgery, changing my eating every day for the rest of my life, learning about my body and nutrition and supplements and moving more every day for the rest of my life. Surgery isn’t a magic button – it takes work, every single day. Forever.
10 – It can be very expensive
I chose to have my surgery done privately. It cost me upwards of $23,000 – which I paid for myself, and then my Southern Cross Health Insurance refunded me approximately $8,000.
Do I regret my decision to have bariatric surgery?
Hell freaking no.
I talk about it here and with my friends and family as I’m working on it every day. It does take effort and it truly is not easy. I’ve had to change almost everything in my life and really turn my thinking around but I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Even if I knew all those things above that I know now.
I’m always happy to answer any questions you might have about the realities of bariatric surgery and life post op. Leave me a comment or feel free to email me – check out my Contact Details