There are many reasons people make the decision to have bariatric surgery. Some people may be very overweight and struggling with health problems related to their weight. Others may feel like they have tried every other weight loss method and nothing has worked for them.
Some people may just feel like their obesity is negatively impacting their quality of life and they want to do something about it. Ultimately, the decision to have bariatric surgery is personal and should be made after discussing all of the potential risks and benefits with a physician.
If you are anything like me, you have struggled for years with your weight. For me, it started before high school. My family would comment on how chubby I was getting and that no man would ever want to date or marry me if I was fat, and a boyfriend at the time would grab my “love handles” and tell me I was getting fat. Both caused me to become bulimic.
It wasn’t until years later that I realized how messed up that was. My decision to have bariatric surgery was so that I can take control of my life and my health. This is a decision that I will never regret.
When I had my oldest son, I cried so much during the pregnancy because I knew I needed to gain weight to protect and grow the beautiful baby growing inside, but I didn’t want to gain because I already felt fat, at 120lbs. By the time my youngest was born, I was consistently between 160-170lbs and started noticing a lot more issues were starting to appear.
I had to buy new clothes because none of my old ones fit, I was always exhausted, my anxiety was through the roof, and I just didn’t feel like myself.
My darkest moment…
December of 2013, just two months after my husband and I got married, I miscarried my third child. That is when I started to gain the last 100lbs, putting me at 319lbs within the next 8 years.
My depression was horrible. I didn’t want to do anything, didn’t want to work, and barely left the house to get groceries, if I did, I would only wear pajama pants or leggings, a tank top, and an oversized hoodie to hide my weight.
Summer of 2021, I tried to take our dogs for walks and was getting winded just going around ONE block. ONE! That’s when I knew, it was time. This is the last time I was going to feel this way. I was done.
I decided enough was enough and started researching weight loss surgery. It took me about 6 months of going back and forth and tons of research to ultimately make the decision to have bariatric surgery and go through with it, but I knew this was something I had to do for myself. After discussing with my husband the pros and cons, we decided it was the best decision for me and my health.
The Journey to My New Life
I met with my primary care physician in November of 2021. With his thumbs up and referral, I started my 9-month journey to becoming a healthier me. I scheduled an appointment with the surgeon and nutritionist.
After having a meeting with the nutritionist for the first time and hearing the steps I need to take to be successful. That meeting solidified my decision to have bariatric surgery.
PreOp Goals for a Successful Bariatric Surgery
- Practice the 30-30-30 rule; stop drinking 30 minutes before your meal, take 30 minutes to eat (during which you do not drink), and do not drink for 30 minutes after your meal.
- Practice taking small sips of fluid.
- Eliminate all high-calorie beverages and all beverages that are caffeinated and carbonated.
- Follow a predetermined calorie meal plan that your doctor provides.
- Practice eating 3 meals per day and 1 snack.
- Measure all portions and record them in a food diary or app daily.
- Practice balancing meals that contain protein. (soup and cereal are not protein)
- Practice taking small bites of food, chewing thoroughly, and eating slowly.
- You must do something for exercise. The goal for exercise is 60 minutes, five days per week. If you are not exercising begin walking or doing your exercise of choice, for 20 minutes, three days per week.
- Work does not count as exercise.
- Leisurely walking the dog is not exercise.
- Begin taking a multivitamin with iron.
- Attend Medically Supervised Weight Loss class once per month.
- Attend at least one Bariatric Support Group before surgery.
- If you smoke, quit smoking ASAP. This includes all forms of nicotine such as cigarettes, vaping, cigars, pipes, chew, etc.
I did it – I lost 17% of my weight before being approved for surgery at 270lbs.
This is a reminder that bariatric surgery is not a quick fix, and it requires a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve long-term weight loss. If you’re not committed to making the necessary changes, your surgery will not be successful.
It’s often a 6+ month process of many nutritional classes, doctor’s appointments, blood draws, diet changes, and more. This is all done to ensure that you are ready for surgery and that you have the best chance of success after surgery. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. If you’re not committed to making this work, your new tool won’t work.
You hear it’s a lot more mental prep than physical, but what they don’t tell you is that the mental aspect is rough. Especially after surgery. When I wrote this I was at 4 days post-op and struggling a bit mentally.
I’m still happy with my decision to have bariatric surgery, don’t get me wrong, however, I didn’t expect the emotional frustration to outweigh the physical pain the way it is.
For the first 2-3 days after surgery, I could barely sip water or my protein drinks. Finally, on the 4th day, I could sip on bone broth and not feel nearly as much pain from gas pockets.
That 5th day though, OMG I went to use the bathroom to do #2 and there was some relief, then it felt like I was giving birth again, only worse. I was impacted so bad I had to drink extra fiber & use a suppository.
Once I got past the 5th day, things started getting much easier and better. I’m able to move more, bend down, walk more, drink more, etc. I’m sleeping better. I do wear my abdominal binder at night, which helps with pain and discomfort while sleeping, but I remove it during the day so that it doesn’t stab me constantly and so I can move around more.
Getting Back To Normal
I went back to work the Monday after my surgery. I felt fine. I’m lucky to work from home and have the ability to either work from my office desktop or my laptop in the living room or my bed. I work for an awesome agency that has been so supportive throughout my entire journey, which has made this decision to have bariatric surgery that much easier.
When you are making your decision to have bariatric surgery, having people in your corner supporting you can mean the world to you and help ease the struggle just a little bit. Talking with a therapist, loved one, bestie, etc can all help you. Finding someone who will be your accountability person is also essential.