Have you ever been in the middle of the project or meal only to realize that you don’t have the right tools or ingredients for the job? You thought you had everything you needed…you even gathered your tools or props or ingredients ahead of time and thought you were 100% ready to tackle your task at hand. You then find yourself elbow deep in a flourless cake realizing you only have a teaspoon of vanilla when the recipe actually called for a tablespoon. I have been here many times in many different situations. I find myself in this situation now with my weight “project”…knee deep in frustration without the necessary tools to get the job done.
I need a tool to help me reach, maintain, and sustain a healthy weight. I have tried all other tools available- 30/10, Weight Watchers, Atkins, juicing, Dr. Furman, fasting, Keto, meal delivery, pills, medication. I have used these tools with fidelity and validity. I continue to use the knowledge from 30/10 and I am currently using the Weight Watchers tools. These tools are just not getting the job done. So I took a trip to the hardware store and have found a tool that will help me complete my “project”- Sleeve Gastrectomy. This summer I will have bariatric surgery and I am feeling every emotion under the sun about this decision.
The time has come for me to add a serious tool to my toolbox. I have come so far in my understanding of my addiction and my weight. I now also understand I am fighting my genetics and biology and I do not have the tools needed to fight at that level. I need a tool in my toolbox to tackle this monumental project of living my life at a healthy weight. I have been acquiring tools for decades now. I found out that I had a toolbox when I was 16 and trust me, that was a powerful discovery. To know that I could equip myself with tools to deal with and survive the shittiness of life was amazing and empowering. I added tools for dealing with tools– people who totally took a shit dump on my life, my person, my identity, my feelings, and my emotions. I emerged from those experiences because I took the time to gather the tools and learn how to use them. In college, I picked up some super handy tools for navigating political situations- sticky situations that could alter the direction my life took. These tools taught me how to work with people to not only get the outcome I wanted but improve the lives and outcomes of others. My first year of teaching required that I pick up some tactical tools and body armor to fend off hits on my life. I also learned how to use the most powerful tool of them all- the word NO. I feel that my toolbox is pretty well stocked. I mean…my tools helped me get to where I am today and I am in a pretty damn good place right now. I have a loving family who wants me around, I have a super rad network of friends who would cut people if asked, I have a rom-com worthy husband and marriage, my job is fulfilling, flexible, and meaningful, and I am building a dreamy McMansion on a hill overlooking the Salish Sea. Life is good. My health is not good. I need a tool for my health.
I used to think surgery was taking the easy way, the lame way, the “you really are not strong enough to stop eating doughnuts?” way out of obesity. I would watch “My 600 Pound Life” and Monday morning quarterback their lives and decisions that led to their 600-pound lives. But in a lot of ways, I AM them. I struggle with living at a healthy weight as they do. I have always struggled to live at a healthy weight just like they have. They are battling their genetics and biology as I am. I struggle with food consumption and knowing when I am hungry and full in the same way they do. I have emotions and sometimes food helps me live with my emotions just like they struggle. If I ate 20,000 calories a day I too would weigh 600 pounds. I don’t think the same way about surgery anymore because I now understand that bariatric surgery is tool and the sleeve procedure is the most successfully proven and safe tool that I can use to live life at a healthy weight. The people depicted on the show are doing something about their situation. They are facing their reality and are making a change that cannot be undone. They are serious about their choice and their tool. So why did I think using this tool was is a bad thing? I don’t think twice when someone I know has a knee replaced or a bad back fixed surgically. I don’t judge people who take insulin because they are diabetic or heart medication for their high cholesterol. All of these conditions could be brought on by an individual and their life choices. They could also be genetic or biological and out of their control. Yet I never stopped to think about any of these things…it is not even in the realm of my consciousness. All of these “things” that most people are using to live healthy lives are tools and tools are meant to be used. Why would anyone not use a tool to live better if it is available to you?
My conversations with people who have had this exact procedure or have had bariatric surgery can be summarized in two sentiments: “I should have done this sooner” and “I am so happy I had this done”. Their hows and whys and roads to bariatric surgery are as varied as the clouds, but their outcomes have been the same. Yes, it will present unforeseen changes and challenges. Yes, it will alter my life and lifestyle. Correct, this is not a magical procedure that will melt my fat cells and jettison them to the universe forever. No, I don’t have all of the potential outcomes calculated nor do I have contingency plans for realities A-Z. But I do have a doctor and a surgeon who has deemed my procedure medically necessary. I do have an insurance company who agrees and is willing to invest my money back into my body and life. I do have a will and desire to live life at a healthy weight. I do have access to a tool that will help make my desire to live life at a healthy weight my reality. I do have a therapist who is committed to seeing me through the before, during, and after. I do have a husband, family, friends, people who support me now, during, and after. And I have an accountability program to help me become the person I need to be to maintain a healthy weight.
I am sorry if you are a 30/10er and you feel disappointed or let down by my decision. I loved the program and the people. I learned SO MUCH through my experience there. I am thankful for everything 30/10 gave me. It simply was not the right tool for me to finish the job. If you are thinking about trying 30/10, my advice has not changed. It is a fantastic place to get your mind blown in the best way. It is an amazing place to take control of your life and your food issues. It is the BEST place to have a “come to Jesus” moment about your weight and the impact it is having on your life. Make your consultation appointment and go forth curious!
So in June or August (my sister and bro-in-law are having a baby in July and I have blocked out that whole month for baby…yes fat cells you will live another month) I will be baptized by the holy surgeon and will be reborn a bariatric patient. I am hopeful, excited, committed and scared. Who knew you could be all of those things at once. I am thankful for all of the weight tools I already have in my toolbox. They have kept me from being featured on “My 600 Pound Life”. Let’s be honest…I have the personality for reality TV but I value my privacy too much 😉 Sharing my understand of my weight struggles with whoever stumbles on this blog has always brought me joy, peace, and understanding so I will continue to share my experiences throughout this process on this platform. Food is a big part of who I am. This procedure will not change that. I am hopeful that this tool will help food become a normal part of who I am, not the biggest and most visible part as it is now. I am looking forward to the day when a stranger will pass me walking, notice a scowl on my face, and begin to wonder what deep dark secret is making my life so miserable. Because now everyone knows its food…and I am over that. I am ready to be a brooding mystery that everyone is trying to figure out.
A warm thank you to everyone who has loved me through the struggle and who will love me through the future. Thank you to everyone who reads, reacts, responds, reaches out. Your engagement makes me a better person.
To learn more about the procedure and see how it works, check out this website: http://columbiasurgery.org/conditions-and-treatments/sleeve-gastrectomy
You can also follow my visually on Instagram @theestruggleisreallyreal