This usually happens to me…

I seem to have been born under the Dumb Ass sign.  I can look back over the years and see many situations in my life where I had to learn my lessons the hard way. This usually entails me beating my head against a metaphorical brick wall until I pummel myself into submission.  Sometimes it takes years.

I’ve spent years in stubborn opposition to gastric bypass and other bariatric surgeries.  It’s the quitter’s way out.  That’s how I felt about it.  I have vehemently stood on my soap box and declared that I will never EVER do it.  I’ve watched my friends jump on the bandwagon one after the other…many of them gaining the weight back, which has only helped me to justify my position.

I have come close to giving in twice over the past 20 years.  Both times, the assembly line attitude exhibited by the surgeon’s office staff has snapped me out of it and made me stop dead in my tracks.  My own reality, however, is that I have been failing at my own “success” for years now…and time is marching on.

As I was sitting in my living room the other day, I had a sudden realization.  I’ve no idea where it came from.  I was thinking of my Dad.  He was an alcoholic his entire life and, except for about 6 months, was never able to break free of his problem with it.  Dad and I have a very similar emotional personality.

I’ve struggled with my weight for more than 20 years.  Except for 4 months when I lost 75 lbs (thanks to the advice of a doctor who was a complete QUACK), I’ve never been able to kick this in the ass.  Again last year, I lost 50 pounds and then took a break and derailed myself.  I’ve stubbornly insisted that I can do this myself.  But I haven’t.

So as I was sitting there…thinking about my Dad…I realized:  if there had been a surgery that would have helped my Dad to stop drinking, I would have begged him to have it done.  I would have.

I still maintain that there are many people who seek bariatric surgery who want a quick fix.  They want an external cure for an internal problem.  This surgery was originally meant for people who are so sick from being obese that they need drastic intervention.  It’s become something else entirely.

There was a time in my life when, if I’d had the surgery, I know I would have gained the weight back.  I don’t eat because I’m hungry.  I eat because I’m happy, sad, glad, mad, pissy, anxious, joyous, rebelious.  Name the emotion and I eat because of it. Surgery can’t fix that.

I’ve watched friends line up for gastric bypass, specifically.  It’s not for me.  The extreme nature of the surgery alone is enough to turn me away.  Then there’s the hair loss, the hanging skin, the sallow complexion.  I’ve known people who’ve died on the operating table from this surgery.  It’s permanent and extreme and there are all kinds of possible complications.  It’s not for me.

I need a boost.  I need training wheels.  I need a jump start.  That’s all I need.

I gained this weight by binge eating through my 20’s.  Grief stricken over things that happened in my childhood and heartbroken over the breakup of my first serious relationship, I turned to food for comfort.  By the time I came out of my tailspin I could eat an entire large pizza in one sitting and thought nothing of drinking cake mix right from the bowl.  Why wait for it to bake, right?

I think back on those times and I feel sad, ashamed, and mortified.  That is not my life now.  I haven’t done those things in years.  Now my life is different.  I know how to eat healthy and eat well.  I’ve shown myself I can do it.  I just have a really hard time sticking to it.

It’s too easy for me to drop the ball.  It’s too easy for me to say “Fuck it, I’ve had a bad day…I don’t want to cook, let’s get a pizza.”  Sure, I no longer eat the entire pizza myself…but I also don’t work out on a regular basis.  I need something to STOP me from giving up…until I can stop myself.  It’s not enough that I eat healthy if I drop the ball like this.  It’s happening more and more frequently as my life gets busier and busier.

If I woke up in the morning and the Fat Fairy had visited and taken 100 pounds off my body, I would not make a mad dash for IHOP and endless pancakes.  No.  I would MOVE.  I would go for a walk…go to Jazzercise.  I would be hungry for more change and more weight loss.  FAT loss.  I wouldn’t have the discomfort or embarrassment that haunts me now.  Sure, I’d still be fat…but it’s livable.  150 pounds?  I’d tell the hubby to call in sick so he could take me to Six Flags to ride a roller coaster again. And the next time he mentioned hiking in Aspen?  I would go.  I wouldn’t make room in my life for extra cheese…I would make room in my life for LIFE.

I finally get it.  These types of surgeries aren’t to be used as the solution.  They’re to be used as a tool.  That’s all they are.  They’re not the end solution.  It’s too bad that so many look at it that way and then never take the opportunity to make themselves strong.  They end up gaining all the weight back and causing themselves even more problems.

If I did something like this, it would be something much less invasive and drastic than gastric bypass.  LAP band is reversible and far less drastic.  It also requires much less recovery time.  You can be out of the hospital the same day and back to work in a few days.  The more I learn about it, the more I think it’s the perfect crutch to get me moving steadily in the right direction.

I’m cautiously looking at it right now.  I see it in a new light and I want to investigate it for myself.  But I keep coming back to the question I asked myself earlier:  if there was a surgery that would have helped Dad stop drinking, would you have told him to do it?

My answer will always be yes.


10 thoughts on “This usually happens to me…

  1. I’ve considered the lap band as well; about 10 years ago, my doctor several times gently hinted about the gastric bypass to me, and I had the same visceral response you did. In retrospect, I’ve wondered if I shouldn’t have given it some consideration, but I think I’m with you…it’s the whole permanency aspect that has me spooked.

    My other problem is that I’m not always consistent. If anything, I don’t eat enough food, which brings about its own metabolism-crushing nightmares. Oh, sure…there are still times when I’ll indulge and over-consume. But I’ve gotten myself into some horrible habits over the years. And part of any surgical solution to this issue also carries with it a whole lifestyle change as well, and all too often I think THAT is where a lot of folks drop the ball.

    I, too, would love a 100-pound or so “magic-wand solution” to give me some incentive. But I also know that if I don’t introduce some very fundamental, very crucial changes to what I *DO* and *THINK*, it would only be a matter of time before I found myself right back where I am now. I need to change my head and my heart first; the body will eventually follow.

    1. I can totally relate, Tim…

      I repeatedly stood up to people for years when they thought they were being kind by telling me to have gastric bypass surgery. I know myself better than anyone else does…and I know gastric bypass is not the answer for me – nor was I in the right place for such a thing.

      There is no 100 lb magic wand solution – even for me. My statement about waking up 100 lbs lighter was entirely speculative…it’s not meant to imply that I expect that or want that. I’ve made the crucial changes I can make and I still need help…and I”m running out of time, which is why I find myself at this crossroads right now.

  2. As I had said to you in a previous post, my cousin had the gastric bypass done a few years ago. She’s had her struggles, two extra surgeries because of typical complications, but she does not regret her choice for one second. She is back to what you would consider normal, small portion meals and snacks. She’s maintained her weight for 4 years now and is more healthy than ever. She did have a bit of skin reduction done on her stomach, but was luck to not need it on her arms or legs.

    I have another dear family friend who had lap band surgery. She is diabetic, doesn’t follow the life changes and diet like she should, still struggles with her weight (although she’s lost some, it’s not nearly what it should be) and I don’t know that anything is going to shock her into changing her habits and save her life.

    I know of a few people where I live who had the surgery and regained all their weight plus more, I know of people who are maintaining a relatively normal weight, etc etc. It all depends on your motivations for having the surgery and your true dedication and readiness as to whether or not you are going to succeed in any kind of a serious program, be it gastric bypass surgery or lap band surgery. Also, aftercare counseling is HIGHLY recommended so you can deal with your emotions while your body is going through such a serious transformation.

    Dianne, I don’t know what your plans are yet, but whatever you choose to do I will support your choice. I’ve seen them all first hand, seen how they change lives and I think you would benefit from it. The good thing about the GB is that it is permanent, your stomach will always remain small (it will stretch out to hold about 8 ounces eventually) so that it’s difficult to overeat. You just have to be ready for the drastic changes that come in the first year and prepared for the permanent changes to your eating, which aren’t bad things! 🙂

    Love you!

    1. Thanks, Liz! I honestly believe that I needed to grow to this point before I could even consider such a thing…and I feel good about the fact that I’m not looking at the possibility of surgery as a SOLUTION to my problem, but rather as a tool to help me achieve my goal. I’m not sure anyone can really understand this unless they’ve been 200 lbs overweight…but there is a time when you get to a place where you really question what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.

  3. Hey Di,
    I know someone who had that surgery and has had remarkable results. She has lost most of the weight. Not all, but still most. Also she had no complications from the surgery. If you’re going to do it, that’s the way to go.

  4. Dianne,

    I have been following your blog for awhile now (and love it). You are a strong, intelligent and wise woman, with a clear interest and motivation for self development. I really admire your honesty and willingness to bring your personal challenges and vulnerabilities out into the open.

    One thing stood out to me over everything else in this post that I believe bears mention:

    “If I woke up in the morning and the Fat Fairy had visited and taken 100 pounds off my body, I would not make a mad dash for IHOP and endless pancakes. No. I would MOVE. I would go for a walk…go to Jazzercise. I would be hungry for more change and more weight loss. FAT loss. […] I would make room in my life for LIFE.”

    What would happen if you began to live with this attitude and perspective TODAY?

    It’s so often easy for us (of the human species) to fall into the “if only x was different then life would be better” thought process. I’ve found that one of the most effective ways of creating sustainable change is to begin this very moment living with the attitude we imagine for ourselves if things were exactly the way we wanted them to be.

    I love your idea to embrace MOVING and LIVING—what better time than right now?

    1. Amy, thank you as always for your support and excellent feedback 🙂

      I did not mean to imply that I’m not moving now…I’m just not moving well. In spite of the fact that I’ve made the decision to publicize my weight loss efforts on the internet, there are still a few things that I do keep private…like the regular issue of bloody sores from chafing, which no mainstream runner’s cures (roll on friction relief, etc) have been able to stop. There are also some other issues that are so private I will not even hint to.

      I’ve fought this problem for 20 years. I have never lived a healthier life than I do right now. But the fact remains that I can no longer afford those “fuck it, I’m getting pizza” days…or those “I’ve had a crappy weekend, I’m eating THREE of these low cal desserts.” The main issue that trips me up food-wise is when my patience grows thing.

      The main issue that trips me up exercise-wise is the sores…the joint pain…and the demoralizing fact that I can not move long enough and hard enough.

      As I said, if there had been a surgery that would have HELPED my Dad…not cured him…but HELPED him…I’d have begged him to do it. I feel confident that I’m considering this for the right reasons. I’m not looking at it as a solution and I certainly am not turning to it because I don’t think I can’t do this by myself. But the fact of the matter is I’ve waged this war for 20 years…and I’m ready to consider options that remove willpower as a necessary factor in my success.

      1. I totally hear you. And I know you’re moving… you’re a daily inspiration. 🙂

        There is a huge connection between how we think and how we move, so was suggesting that along with the decision-making process you’re going through now with this surgery, experiment with acting as if it’s already done. That you’re already where you want to be.

        What we think about often manifests… so for example, a climber might be afraid of falling and keeps repeating “don’t fall don’t fall” to herself. And then she falls because the brain hears “fall” and falling is all she’s thinking about. But if she switches the track in her head to “stay strong stay strong” the result is often that she completes the climb without falling. Does that make sense?

        Switching the voices in your head from the future (I will be x when) to the present (I am x – even if you don’t *fully* believe it just yet) just might open up new ways of thinking, which lead to new ways of acting.

        Of course this is WAY easier said than done, but it’s another tool to help you along the way. (And who doesn’t like a closet-full of useful tools to use when you need them?) 🙂

        And speaking of willpower… I just read an article on what’s called “decision fatigue” ( that addressed the issue of willpower from a really interesting perspective I’d never heard before.

        “I feel confident that I’m considering this for the right reasons.” Love the trust you have in yourself. Sending you big hugs of support.

  5. Hey, I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now and I hardly ever comment. But here is something I have to say. Sometimes when we’re trying to be healthy the biggest problem is we forget. We forget we’re not eating certain foods and certain drinks so this is my advice/tip to you.

    This is what you can do to not forget. Before every meal. Before everytime you eat something stop and talk to yourself about it. I know this will make you look properly crazy. But just do it. Even before the healthy stuff. It makes it harder to say “Just fuck it”.

    Talk to yourself about the pros of eating it the cons, and sometimes don’t even talk about the food just constantly remind yourself of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and what yo’re striving for.

    Also I also have the problem of not moving fast enough but here’s what I say to myself at time. If I had not quit at all this past year and kept up the same attitude, where would I be today?

    Also, stop coming up with a definite opinion on things. Be open to changing your opinion on something every day, it helps you keep an open mind. You may learn something else about surgery tomorrow that makes you see it as bad, and something else the day after that makes you see it as good. Be open to knowledge and be open to new information changing your views.

    Finally don’t minimize the weight you have lost. It’s still a lot and you still deserve the credit for it.

    Good luck in life and know I’m always there standing beside you pushing you 🙂 <3

Comments are closed.