Obesity is such a huge problem in our country, I thought I would share with you the personal point of view of someone who has struggled with weight most of his life, but found better health and self-esteem after a successful bariatric bypass surgery. If you or anyone you know struggles in vain with serious obesity, please comment on the blog and I am sure Dave will gladly help you along. I am sure you will find this guest blog most informative. Dave has lost over 130 pounds, but he has gone beyond the success of his surgery to become highly knowledgeable about the subject of bypass surgery. He is well known on the Internet and I am sure he will be happy to answer any questions you might have after reading his blog. Pleas enjoy Dave’s blog below.
The Prime Directive
Facing an obesity epidemic in the U.S. which has no historical precedent, more than 200,000 folks a year are turning to bariatric surgery to regain their health. Surgery is the single most effective treatment known to medical science for the treatment of obesity and more than 30 comorbidities associated with obesity including type 2 diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnea.
Bariatric surgeons are quick to point out that the surgery is just a tool. Long term success is dependent on what I call The Prime Directive – lifestyle changes. Without those changes, any weight loss option including surgery can be defeated. But I wonder how many of us have given serious thought to what “lifestyle changes” really means. What are the implications? How do we incorporate The Prime Directive into the many decisions that we will make as we travel the path toward achieving our goal? What criteria must be met that will ensure that the decisions we make are consistent with The Prime Directive?
• Sustainability – lifestyle changes are, by definition, long term. I cringe every time I hear someone say “I’m six months post-op and eating 400 to 500 calories a day.” It’s not sustainable. It’s not healthy. It’s not a lifestyle change. And it’s not necessary. It’s about control, not denial.
• Compatibility – Success is not synonymous with suffering. Five years of moderate exercise is much more valuable than five weeks of trying to be a hero. Most of us have the ability (and the temptation) to take diet or exercise to the extreme. Bad idea. If you hate doing that five mile walk, or following that 600 calorie a day diet or failing to participate in that holiday meal – you simply will not continue that in the long run. Life is supposed to be fun! We deserve to be happy. Successful lifestyle changes means giving yourself permission to enjoy a moderate exercise routine, to eat a healthy number of calories every day, and to celebrate a special occasion with family and friends. Mindless denial or pursuing a goal that is beyond your personal limits will fail – every time. Thoughtful restraint is always a success.
• Realistic expectations – At the heart of every lifestyle change is a realistic expectation. Again and again and again I see folks agonizing over their failure to lose “X” pounds every week, or going a week or two without losing any weight, or frustrated because they don’t see an immediate response to a change they have made in their diet or exercise. Unrealistic expectations are unquestionably a major source of stress. They may well be the single biggest contributing factor that causes some to fail. We’re all individuals and we’re all different. There are no absolutes. Do your part by following the protocol your doctor gives you and then allow your body to find its own way, in its own time. Expect there to be bumps in the road. And above all else remember that patience is not only a virtue, it’s a necessity.
There is no “one size fits all” answer to the question of how we go about identifying, and then incorporating, lifestyle changes. But if we remember that they must be sustainable, compatible with our strengths and capabilities, and based on realistic expectations, we have a solid foundation for the Prime Directive. You’re gonna love the new you!!
The author had roux-en-y gastric bypass surgery in October of 2011. Starting weight – 285 pounds. Thirteen months later – 155 pounds. Lowest weight since that time – 151 pounds. Highest weight since that time – 156 pounds. Type 2 diabetes – gone. Hypertension – gone. Sleep apnea – gone. Back and knee pain – gone. 90% of prescription medications – gone. Comments and questions are very much welcome and will, without exception, be answered.