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Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Rest of Your Life

I found out I was fat on the first day of kindergarten when the little girl sitting next to me on the floor pointed at my chubby knees and told me I was fat. I didn’t even know what fat was but I could tell it was bad and I didn’t want to be fat. Until that day I had been unaware I was different. But there I was, a five-year-old girl sitting cross-legged on the floor in my pretty red first-day-of-school dress learning a new word that would define me for twenty-five years.

Then I had gastric bypass surgery and my world turned around. After a lifetime of unsuccessful dieting the pounds melted away and I became a thin, fit, healthy person! The decision to have surgery took courage, nerve, and a little bit of plain old faith. It was my last hope, my last resort, the end of the road for a thirty-year-old fat woman sitting on the kindergarten floor.

And it WORKED!

On the one-year anniversary of my surgery I walked into an upscale dress shop and the clerk looked me over and she said the most glorious words I had ever heard, “You’re a size six, right?”

Absolutely! Size Six! That’s me! (I did have enough self-control not to hug her!)
Every gastric-bypass patient knows how the story of the little fat girl begins. Most of us started our lives heavy and in spite of countless valiant efforts we have never won the battle to become trim and healthy. Each of us could fill a large binder with stories of shame, humiliation, fear and outright embarrassment because of our obesity. Sure, we’ve had those fleeting weight loss successes only to have our hearts broken when the pendulum swings from weight loss to weight gain. I can’t count the nights in my lifetime I spent awake wishing and dreaming to wake up thin and fit and beautiful. I prayed to every God I’d ever heard about for a miracle. I suppose every overweight person prays for a miracle.

If you are reading Living After WLS you have studied and consulted, discussed and prayed about your decision for weight loss surgery. You have chosen surgery as your miracle. Congratulations! You have shown great courage! You have the spirit to take action in the face of great fear! You have made a decision you will never regret! You are about to start the adventure of your lifetime. Now you are at the crossroad where you stop dreaming and begin living the miracle!

During the first few months after surgery you will experience wonderful changes as your body drops the pounds, seemingly without effort on your behalf! This time truly is a window of opportunity where a patient discovers the person who has been hiding inside for so long. Suddenly your face will have structure; you might lose a chin (or two!) Your body will shrink so fast that clothes that fit one day will be hanging off your incredible shrinking figure the next!

While it may appear to onlookers that you are losing the weight without personal struggle or effort, this really isn’t true. Physically the pounds are melting away. But inside there are struggles every day and issues to overcome. Some patients report symptoms of depression during this phase of rapid weight loss – so much changing so fast! Others report extreme highs and elation as they see their new healthy self magically appear in the mirror. People surrounding the rapidly diminishing patient may de-value the effort it takes for person to accomplish massive weight loss. They may not understand the physical and mental toll this rapid weight loss is taking. This surgery requires a complete retraining of your body. Nothing you have done in the past to feed your body will you be able to continue doing. How many people would call a complete body overhaul easy?

There are people in our world, fat and thin alike, who see weight loss surgery as a magic pill – the easy way out of the big bodies we are lugging around. We’ve all heard, and been hurt by their comments, “just quit eating all that food and exercise – it’s easy to lose weight.” Easy to lose weight? Not damn hardly! If that were true then a third of our population wouldn’t be struggling with obesity. Losing weight and keeping it off is never easy. Not before surgery. Not after surgery. Never-ever-never.

But the good news: with weight loss surgery you will be armed with the most powerful, the most effective tool ever in the history of weight control! There is no other pill, program or plan in existence that has the enduring proven success of weight loss surgery. You will have this tool for the rest of your life. Unless you deliberately have it reversed it can never be taken from you.

Congratulations! Enjoy your gastric-bypass experience!

It’s for the rest of your life!

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