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Why I am not having weight loss surgery

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A lot of people have asked me lately, since I have health insurance, why don't I just have weight loss surgery?

The answer, for me, is very simple. If I can eat right and exercise, I don't know of any good reason to go under the knife.

The most important components of weight management are eating right and getting enough activity. People who have weight loss surgery still have to learn how to do those things. Surgery is not a substitute. Almost everyone I know who has had weight loss surgery, has still had trouble with weight since their surgery.

I've been adopting a healthier lifestyle slowly over the last year, especially the last 7 months. In that time, I have learned how to make healthier food choices, how to manage my health problems, how to get more activity, and how to make a habit out of these things. It's been slow going, but those are not things that happen overnight. I'm not an expert, but I'm still learning.

A year ago, I was taking about 6 different prescriptions that totalled a couple thousand dollars pre-insurance. Now, I'm only taking one medication, my thyroid pill, which I will likely need for the rest of my life. Some of these changes are due to dietary changes, some of these changes are due to a combination of diet and exercise. And at least 2 drugs are gone because I switched from pharmaceuticals to using CPAP (breathing machine) for my sleep apnea.

I no longer have high cholesterol and I don't have to take a cholesterol drug to be able to say that. There is no surgery in the world that can do that for a person. The ONLY way I could achieve that is through diet and exercise.

I no longer have high blood pressure, and I don't have to take medications to be able to say that. One could argue that weight loss surgery could result in lower blood pressure simply from the weight loss, but diet and exercise do just as well, and have the added benefit of managing weight.

Since I have been eating healthier, people have noticed my skin and hair look different, I don't get sick as often, and I generally "feel better."

Since becoming more active, I can now take the stairs, lift heavy boxes, and walk further distances without becoming winded. My mood has improved.

The best part of all of this is that I am learning how to enjoy eating anything I want, as long as it is in moderation. I've even started to dislike foods that are really bad for me, like fried food.

So when someone asks me why I don't have weight loss surgery, I also wonder, Why don't I have something inserted into my body or changed inside my body, possible side effects and more medications, and an extremely restricted, low calorie diet? Why don't I do all that, even though I lost 11.5 pounds last month from diet and exercise alone?

I don't need it!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You are so right. Its much better to do it the old fashion way with diet and exercise. People that have the surgery still have to learn to control their portions or they will eventually gain weight again. Plus there are health risks to the surgery. I know someone who has a lot of problems because she didn't take care of herself after weight loss surgery.

    I checked out your page and you have already lost 50+ lbs. You are doing it! You're awesome :)
    3974 days ago
    Great post! I completely agree. I work for a doctor and had to type up two discharge summaries last month for two women who died of malnutrition after weight loss surgery complications. One never went home again after her surgery and she was in her 30's. She was in the hospital a year before she died. The other one was in and out of the hospital for months and months. It's too scary for me!

    Very inspiring post!

    3995 days ago

    Sounds to me as if you have taken the sensible route. I put on weight after an hysterectomy and I am now struggling to get it off but I don't think surgery is good for you and should be a last resort.
    4001 days ago
  • FROGGIE13777
    You are so smart....and doing it while you are young.

    At 59 my doctor told me she thought I should have a WLS and I said no for all the reasons you gave in your blog.

    I am now 124 pounds down from 305 and still losing!!! Thanks to God, Spark People and TOPS. I am so glad I have been given the strength and motivation to change my eating and activity habits. I really wish I would have done it years earlier. But now I feel I will have a longer, healthier life because I did not wait until it was totally too late.

    Froggie Gramma
    4001 days ago
    I have also come to the same conclusion for myself. I have always felt that rerouting my stomach and ruining my digestion would not do a thing to help adjust my mind, which is where my eating problems originate. I have to change my attitude and practice healthier habits consistently or nothing is going to change. A knife cannot do a thing for that. Thank you for sharing. Janet
    4001 days ago
    For some, the surgery may be a lifesaver--apparently many who are diabetic are able to go off the insulin almost immediately. For some, it is the jump start to a weight loss program. In order to be successful, the patient must choose to exercise and to eat healthier if the results remain. There are serious risks with the surgeries; a year ago, one of my co-workers lost a dear friend who had an infection following his surgery.

    Whether one has surgery or chooses to start out making lifestyle changes, one must make those changes to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Congratulations on your success thus far and your future as a healthier person. Thank you for a great post.
    4001 days ago
    4002 days ago
  • FITGAL109
    I love your post, you are so right. I have resisted weight lost surgery because nothing is wrong with how God made me so there is no need to go in there and change things around. Keep moving forward on your goal.
    4020 days ago
    You are right. WLS does not halp with problem but create a lot of healthy problems. Keep your mind opened. I always think that high weight is result not overeating but rather health problems. I got my weight because my diabetes was not under control.
    4022 days ago
  • LRIVHOD0508
    4027 days ago
    This is a great blog! You are so right, and I just wish other people could see it this way.
    4027 days ago
  • MCOMBS01
    I think you are a very smart girl! I've known 2 people who had surgeries, one had the major re-routing, and another had a less dramatic surgery. Both had their hair fall out and had malnutrition issues. Now 3 years later they've gained back most of the weight... and good luck taking it off when your digestion system is all out of whack.

    I think you have the perfect attitude.
    4027 days ago
    Keep your attitude positive and you will reach your goals with just educating yourself like you are doing now.

    You are doing GREAT!!

    4027 days ago
    Very inspirational! I am very proud of you for coming to this conclusion. You will feel soooooo much better when you accomplish your goal and know that you were dedicated enough to accomplish it all by yourself. As you noted, you are already seeing benefits from doing it this way. May GOD bless you on your journey and kudos on your decision!
    4027 days ago
  • KAT573
    YOU are on the RIGHT track, girl, and I am so happy for you!!! Keep on keeping on!
    4027 days ago
  • SUGIRL06
    Bravo! I love this post. Having the will power to lose weight on your own is so respectable. There are the few who have tried to lose weight and for whatever cannot do it and have opted for weight loss surgery but what I think people don't remember is that it is just that.. SURGERY! Its not like you just stop in and they give you a quick remedy. Its a major medical operation! And if you have tried diet and exercise and it works, that is a 1000 times better than taking the easy way out. I am so happy you have decided to take the lifestyle change. Like I said, there are people who need the surgery but you can do this as you have already proven without it! Good luck on your journey!!!
    4027 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3139771
    You are so smart! I have known several people to have the surgery: one almost died because she got an infection post-op; the other two, get sick if they eat the wrong texture or amount of fat; and one more person who couldn't give up the habit of ice cream and full sugar soda. The last three have put some or all of their weight back on. If you can battle it on your own, you will be much healthier and have a better chance of changing your lifestyle for good! Bully for you.
    4027 days ago
    I am so proud of you for deciding to take actions into your own hands...3 yrs ago, I wanted the surgery...I thought my job would pay for it, and guess what? It doesn't. That's when I decided to take control of my own life and change my habits..I'm so glad that I did...and you will be also..Learning to live a healthy lifestyle will be the best thing ever!!! Congrats on your weightloss and for sharing this blog.
    4027 days ago
    Love your attitude! Keep up the great work.
    4027 days ago
  • no profile photo FRESHSTART445
    Right on, sister!
    4028 days ago
  • no profile photo RAWKIWI
    An inspiring blog. I completely agree with your view.
    4028 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1508102
    Great job on losing the weight you have so far. I agree with you on the surgery. I have never considered it but I know people who have had it and it was the right decision for them... just not for me. I'm an emotional eater and the surgery wouldn't stop that. Through changing my eating habits and exercise, I have lost weight and also am learning how to feed my emotions and still lose the weight and that's the best way for me. When it comes to losing weight, there are no easy ways out. It's hard if you have the surgery and hard if you don't. Everyone must make the decision we think is best for us and then surround ourselves with supportive family and friends to help us as we make the journey to better health and fitness.

    Again, congrats on losing the weight , and welcome to Sparkpeople! It's a great site!
    4028 days ago
    Hmmm... your post, as well as the comments made to it, have given me food for thought. (Pardon the pun.)

    I am still considering weight loss surgery as an option, but I need to give it a lot more thought before I go any further down that road. I am 5;7", weigh about 319 lbs. and have osteo-arthritis.

    For the first time in my life, I am doing well with making healthy food choices, but so far (8 days in), have not managed to exercise much. I am literally too busy, exhausted, swollen, and in pain... I wonder to myself, couldn't I just do the surgery so that I can have an easier time of exercising?? Won't I lose hope (as I have SO MANY times before) if I am looking at 2+ yrs before reaching my goal weight?

    I don't know. I do not consider surgery to be 'the easy way out' -- I think that with a huge appetite like mine, and the stretched-out stomach i must have from so much eating... maybe WLS is an intelligent option. After all, I am already trying to change my lifestyle... the surgery would just 'kick-start' the actual weight loss, imho....

    I will be posting this comment to my blog, I think.... bec. I need feedback from my new SPARK support network. It's a huge decision ...

    Thanks for 'listening'.

    4028 days ago
    I agree wholeheartedly with you. I need to lose weight the way I gained it--through my own actions. I need to know that I can change my life for the better. Thanks for expressing it much more eloquently than I can.

    emoticon emoticon
    4028 days ago
    I am so proud of you for making the choice to stick with the discipline and the rough times ahead. I myself have never even let the thought cross my mind about having weight loss surgery and I'm pretty sure you're a motivating factor to a lot of people that use this site.

    4028 days ago
    Awesome post:) I hate that question with a passion. I had a friend in high school who easily weighed 500lbs and ate like it. She did the weight loss surgery and did lose weight but she's having trouble maintaining it and while not as large as she was, is still a large woman. While the surgery was a "magic cure" for her she still hasn't learned self-discipline. Still another woman my mother knew died from her surgery (I think it was the stomach stapling for both of them). I think we've all considered the option of weight loss surgery at least in passing but it seems like people who do it are even more miserable afterwards. I was a scrawny kid and I know why I'm overweight, stress eating, and in the end no surgery is going to help me with that. I know that if I stick with it, eat right (I too am repulsed by the idea of fried foods now) and exercise I can lose the weight too and it'll be a lot more satisfying than a quick fix surgery:) Good luck and keep at it. Congrats on the 11lbs:-D
    4028 days ago
    your right- surgury is not the magic answer. Good for you taking charge of your life!
    4028 days ago
    I agree with your comments. I was also considering weight loss surgery a while back, and I came to the same conclusion that you did. You still need to watch what you eat, exercise, and learn how to deal with your emotions and why you eat the way you do. Otherwise you are always going to have a weight problem. I think surgery is a quick fix with added complications. Also (not that I am knocking anyone for trying it because I know there are lot of people who struggled with weight loss and the surgery provided successful and healthy results), I believe determination, discipline, and faith in God and oneself are more powerful outcomes. These are things that are achieved during the weight loss process (long and slow as it may be) and once they are achieved these things last a lifetime.
    4028 days ago
  • WEEZIE1122
    A lady ask me Monday night if I had had surgery to lose weight. Crazy that is the first place people go when some one drops a few pounds.
    4028 days ago
  • no profile photo DIANESNEWLIFE
    Excellent post!! It's too bad that more people don't think like that. Having the surgery is the easy way out for too many people. It's no wonder our obesity rates are climbing; we've become too lazy and spoiled. Why WORK at improving our health and overall well being, when we can just have liposuction, or the lap band?

    You've hit the nail on the head here. I hope the powers that be here see this blog and feature it so everyone can read it. Keep up the fantastic work!

    4028 days ago
    Way to go!! Great decision and congrats on all the positive changes you have made! Many emoticon
    4028 days ago
    Yippie for you!

    4028 days ago
  • JKSTEIN123
    You are defiantly on the right path of thinking. I know of 3 people who have have the surgery and all of them gained or is gaining it back. weight loss starts first in the thinking region and then the body will follow, no matter what why you decide to lose weight. It is all about the input-output calculation.

    4028 days ago
    This is a great Blog! You are truly inspiring and I know you will succeed! Good luck and way to go emoticon
    4029 days ago
    Great blog! I also choose not to have surgery. I started exercising and eating healther and so far I am down 55 pounds. Good luck on your journey! And keep up the great work!
    4029 days ago
    You are a very smart lady! Like you, everyone I know who has had the surgery is still having problems with their weight. I don't think it is worth it. I never considered it....and fortunately, I didn't need it. Eating right and exercising is working well and I'm loving my new lifestlye. A plus, I don't have the hanging skin problems that my weight-loss surgery friends do. Keep up the good work! You've got the right idea about weight loss.

    Alex emoticon
    4029 days ago
    Great blog, I skipped gbs also for the same reasons. And the added bonus is that with a lifestyle change, pounds lost will most certainly not return.. Feel free to sparkmail me anytime. Lorraine
    4029 days ago
  • MAMASUE12244
    You are a very wise young lady. NOT that having surgery IF one chooses to is wrong, but you are wise in that you recognize it is not for you. You seem strong enough to do it the healthier way. Congratulations and keep the spark alive!!!! emoticon
    4029 days ago
  • RENA1965
    Am with you on this one, many people think a easy way out no need to work. But just have to read the help forums they gain weight just like everyone else.. We get what we put into this journey, some people want everything for nothing.. Everything costs.. I don't want to starve myself to weight loss, loss my hair and make more hormone imbalances than necessary... I have met one or two people whom had extreme forms of this operation, they lost weight so much weight it didn't stop either and they died starving..
    4029 days ago
    You are doing it the healthy way!
    4029 days ago
  • SLCB1023
    Excellent BLOG!!! You are doing it the right way. Quick fixes are not the best way at all. You are doing it your way and look at everything you have accomplished already. I too am off the cholesterol medication, the high blood pressure medication, and a bunch of other stuff too. I too use the CPAP machine adn that has helped with my fasting blodd glucose readings. SO yes, it is all worth it. Keep it up and good luck at reaching all your goals. emoticon
    4029 days ago
    Really great blog! I'll tell you what -- getting on that CPAP machine is going to help with the weight loss. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea in December - they put me on the machine the night of the test because I had stopped breathing that often. The good news is I've lost almost 70 lbs since then. I was finally able to get to REM sleep.

    And with out a doubt -- I don't think you should have the surgery especially before trying it this way. Every time I watched Biggest Loser I thought -- those poor people -- sure they lost all that weight quickly -- but how many of them are going to pile it back on again because the old habits will come back?

    Good for you. And keep on keeping on... you are doing great! It's not about the destiny it's the journey!

    4029 days ago
    I agree , do it healthy and you learn what is working for you, I don't need someone cutting me.
    4029 days ago
    Way to go!
    4029 days ago
    That was very inspirational. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Keep up the wonderful work!
    4029 days ago
  • SHEILA1923
    Wonderful Blog!!! I agree with you totally! emoticon
    4029 days ago
  • FAIRY74
    Yahoo well written...weight loss surgery is full of risks and really only for those who cannot modify their diet or exercise.. Hang in there we are all going to make it with hard work!
    4029 days ago
    Way to go!!
    My sister had weight loss surgery and she has to make sure she gets enough protein and sugar makes her sick. My sister had a long hard road since the surgery, she still has to be careful or she will gain it all back. My sister has to eat things that I would consider a limited food (high in fat) but because of the surgery she has eat less veggies and eat more meat and cheese. I would miss my salad.

    My biggest concern with the surgery is how all these people be cared for in nursing homes. Will the care that she has done to maintained her body be the same care that the nursing homes give?

    Keep up the good work. emoticon
    4029 days ago
  • ALICIA0099
    very good points! :D
    4029 days ago
  • ALICIA0099
    very good points! :D
    4029 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.