I have a little time so I wanted to post about a topic I’ve had to consider over the last two years. Recently I had another doctor suggest gastric bypass surgery as a solution to my weight loss (I’ve had 4 doctors suggest it in the last 3 years). This is a personal decision that everyone must make for themselves but let me explain why I chose to do things the old fashioned way:
1. My goal in starting this journey was not to be skinny. I did this because I felt GOOD about myself, not the other way around. It was to become active, and I have done that. I wanted to be able to do more- to go surfing, to try rock climbing, to swim a mile, and I’ve done all 3!
If you have not worked out the mental and emotional sides of weight loss/weight gain a dramatic weight loss via surgery will not permanently solve those problems.
2. You have all of these strange restrictions after getting the surgery like not mixing fluids with food. Plus you can only eat 3/4-1 cup of food at each meal. (In truth the surgery just forces you to drastically restrict your calorie intake). Many who have the surgery develop nutrient deficiencies and have to take shots and supplements.
3. Because your fluids are limited exercise can be difficult and painful. (They recommend taking an hour to drink 8 ounces of water!).
4. Surgery always has risks (My former roommate had gastric bypass and as a result got addicted to lortab and is now deceased, so that should be reason enough for me to be cautious.).
5. You cannot take any anti-inflamatories because of risk of bleeding and ulcers. With my fibromyalgia this would be a terrible problem. (even though I try to avoid any drugs sometimes the pain is too great)
6. Many people have to get multiple surgeries.
7. The stomach organs are very sensitive to infection, irritation and problem. (Gastric bypass is the only surgery I am aware of that purposefully hampers a human organ from fully functioning. This can’ t help but cause some trauma to the human body).
8. My situation is not serious enough to require it. For example, my A1C is a doing well at 5.3. Most people who qualify for gastric bypass have much higher A1Cs and have as a goal getting below 6. I seem to be able to control my diabetes symptoms on my own. I have also lost 53 lbs in the last 3 years and expect more progress to come.
9. I want my victory to be my own, not at the hands of a surgeon’s scalpel. If it takes me 10 years to reach my ideal weight it will be worth it. I will be able to tell my nieces that they can overcome any challenge on their own (with support from family and friends of course)
10. Hashimoto’s disease (thyroid disease), and other violent gastrointestinal diseases can result from gastric bypass. With autoimmune and irritable bowel problems running in my family I feel it is best to tread lightly in this area of the body.
11. I basically think it is forced anorexia. Sorry but that’s how I feel. In fact, there are cases of women developing eating disorders after the surgery. They even have a name for it Acute Psychotic Disorder After Gastric Bypass Surgery. Eating right is a constant battle but its a battle worth engaging in. The way I am doing it I am learning how to eat for my specific body all the time, not to recover from a surgery.
12. I hate surgeries and don’t respond well to anesthesia.
13. Its very expensive. From what I’ve read costing between $10,000 to $30,000, which I don’t have and if I did I would use it to get more training time, travel time, and go to that open water swim camp in Coasta Rica, or I’d love to do all the open waters swims in Hawaii. (I’ve got lots of dreams!).
14. I’ve gotten everything I want out of the program I’m currently doing. Even if the weight loss is slow and can be frustrating, would I not have most of those frustrations in a different way post-surgery? I like my life. I’m active and happy and think I look cute in clothes so I don’t feel a need.
15. The surgical starvation only works for about 6-9 months and then you are back to maintaining on your own. Not worth it for me. Sorry!
16. You can die from the surgery, and not always right away. I was just reading about a lady who died 3 years later from complications.
17. Gastric bypass does not change your brain. You still crave all the same things, you just can’t eat them. Sure once you can eat more you might hold fast for a while but how long will your brain and body cave? I prefer to work with the brain first and focus on changing the cravings. That’s why I did the sugar fast and will probably do it again.
18. I’m happy with who I am and the health trajectory that I am on. (Ok. I might have repeated that one twice but it is true. I’m healthy, all my vitals are normal. I’m not a diabetic risk anymore. There is no reason for great alarm or drastic measures.
Like I said, everyone has to make their own decision and this is mine. I chose to not have gastric bypass and try my best to keep up an active lifestyle instead. I believe this is the choice God wants me to make for me. Every person must address their health in his or her own way. This is just my conclusion. No gastric bypass surgery for me.I’d take sore muscles and a low GI diet any day of the week.
Good luck as you make your choices.