Life After Weight Loss Surgery Q & A - Couldn't you just try exercise and dieting?

One post-op's thoughts on life after weight loss surgery...

Question: Couldn't you just try exercise and dieting? Why have weight loss surgery?

Answer: I will answer your question but bear in mind... this is MY STORY and we (those who have chosen the helping hand of weight loss surgery to address their obesity) will have different stories (we are all unique snowflakes us humans.)

I dieted most of my teenage and adult years off and on and whenever I was told "well you know you really should lose some weight" by a Dr (they don't give you much more than that in a 10 minute visit) I would try the latest diet, best selling book, $$$ program, infomercial, pill or potion, etc. low carb, low cal, no fat, I did them all (none of which were covered by insurance, though my obesity related illnesses were but that's a rant for another day.)

Without real help this is the conflicting and inaccurate information we face in the world.
Like most diets they will work for a time. I can suffer through anything for a few weeks, months but is it sustainable for life... that's the difference. I am not suffering. I utilized the early months after weight loss surgery to make lifestyle changes that I can live with forever... finding healthy food I love, eliminating some that needed to go, moving my body every day, working on the emotional factors of obesity. The scale #'s going down in a way no diet ever helped me achieve were a big motivation, my activity level just in everyday life increased and add the ability to move more easily and effectiveness of exercise without 150+ extra pounds but more importantly the rapid weight loss resolved all my health issues.

I had a ton of major health issues going on: GERD, acid reflux so severe that it would rise up out of my nose and mouth, severe sleep apnea episodes where I would stop breathing almost 100 times in the night, the combo of those are deadly as you can imagine (aspiration, lack of oxygen, stress on heart, stroke risk, etc.) as part of the treatment for those conditions (along with the high blood pressure and some other conditions) I was on 8 medications. You can imagine I wasn't always up for doing burpees or jogging... in fact many of the medications I was prescribed list weight gain as a side effect (not an excuse, just a fact.)

When you are next in a store like Costco or Sam's do this: pick up a 150 pound bag of something... rice or beans or dog food and try and run... but do it when you are ill and keep that bag with you for many years, at work, at school, try and fit in this world with it's airplane seats and tray tables, student desks, hospital gowns, and turnstiles... oh and on occasion as you are carrying that weight have someone call you names, or treat you differently, or pass you over, or assume and make judgements, make disgusted faces or ask questions like "have you ever tried dieting and exercise?"

Hope that answers your question.

P.S. But wait there's more... and then when you decide with the advice of your doctor that surgical assistance is needed you have to justify your "readiness to change" and wait for 6-12 months as you jump through hoops for approval of the procedure. Often despite all the hoop jumping, you are denied coverage and that blow is so devastating that many do not recover from it, too tired and ill to fight the powers that be. Is there another condition or disease that this would ever happen with?! (There isn't) "I'm sorry Ms. Vicari before we grant your heart bypass or stent you have to prove you tried to change your diet and exercised and if in 6 month you lose xx amount of weight and bring us proof we'll help you... maybe." or "I'm sorry Ms. Vicari we can't remove the tumor or give you chemo or radiation until you show that you can change your lifestyle." It's unacceptable.

I am thankful everyday for the helping hand weight loss surgery gave me and to all those that infer I cheated, took a shortcut or the easy way out (like health is some sort of game) or say "Ohhh you had that surgery, I lost weight with diet and exercise" I say... "Yeah me too, every single day for the rest of my life." Best wishes to all of us!

Join me and become a member of the Obesity Action Coalition, together we're working for positive change to some of the negatives above (It's only $10 for the remainder of the year too, part of the OAC's 10th Anniversary celebration.)