You’ve heard the story. Patti was 265 pounds and tired of being overweight, decided to have a gastric bypass procedure performed. Two years later, Patti has gained all her weight back and then some.
RNY gastric bypass surgery is permanent. The stomach is stapled to this size of an egg and the intestines are re-routed. Gastric bypass surgery should be accompanied with lifestyle change in order to be successful. But not dealing with emotional issues can lead to disaster after surgery.
In April 2010, I weighed 312 pounds. I could barely get out of bed in the morning. Stepping out of the shower was always a terror for me because I had a fear that I would fall. Who could I call to help me up? My daughter was not able to pick up a 312-pound woman. My weight had become so cumbersome that lifting my arms over my head and combing my hair left me winded.
Dating? Forget about it. The only men I met were men who wanted one thing. Sure, it was okay to have sex with a “big girl” but not seriously date or marry one. Even though it was my cruel reality, I blame my own insecurities. In short, I did not like myself at that weight and I didn’t think I deserved a real relationship and real happiness.
How did I cope with loneliness and isolation? I ate even more to stifle the pain. I would look in the mirror everyday and wonder, “who was this person staring back at me?” There was a total disconnect as to the person I knew I was inside and what I looked like on the outside. At 42 years old, pre-diabetic, sad, lonely and depressed, I knew that I needed to lose the weight in order to be the woman I truly was. Emotional Eating was no longer paying off. Something had to give.
The process for gastric bypass surgery is not an easy one. Different health insurance companies require different criteria in order to be approved for surgery. Most require a psychological exam as well as proof that the person has tried to lose weight without success. My health insurance company required a consultation with a dietician. My dietician taught me new ways of looking at food and how to control my portions as well as the best food choices to maintain a healthy BMI.
My surgeon had strict requirements prior to surgery. Two weeks before surgery, no solid foods and walk 30 minutes per day. For those 2 weeks, my diet consisted of protein shakes, beef broth and Popsicles as well as water, water and more water. I did so well; I lost 15 pounds before surgery.
Four weeks after surgery, I was allowed liquids only. Week 5, I graduated to soft foods slowly. The first weeks of no solid food were sheer hell for me. I literally cried when I saw any food commercials on television. Going to work was torture. My job constantly had potluck every other day or so it seemed. Despite it all, I had to deal with it.
My surgeon’s rules, in my opinion, attributed to my success in maintaining weight loss. Not eating for those two weeks instilled a new behavior and a new mindset. I was forced to deal with my emotions and no longer stuff them down with food. Now, almost 3 years later, I still can go back to that time especially when I want to pig out and remember that I am stronger than my emotions, I don’t have to eat away my problems. I will not go back to being 312 and miserable. My life is mine. I decided I wanted to do better and I did. I will not go back.