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Thursday, December 01, 2005

We Are All In This Together

Today I was moved by an entry in Sandi’s Blog about the different methods people use to overcome obesity. Her post was prompted by comments made on the television show, “The Biggest Loser.” As is common in the popular media, the show’s host stated that old-fashioned weight loss (exercise & caloric reduction) is the superior way to lose weight over surgery or quick-fix gimmicks. Once again, weight loss surgery was portrayed as the easy way to lose weight.

There is no such thing as the easy way to lose weight, yet surgical weight loss patients often hide or deny their weight loss tool for fear of criticism and judgement. I did that. Many of you have done that. We are already ashamed of being overweight, and now we are ashamed for doing something “easy” to fix it.

I come from an obese family and both my sister, Julie Hullinger, and I have struggled with our weight for many years. In April after her beautiful daughter was born she immediately began her weight loss effort. She spent two or three weeks going to Jenny Craig but found it was not conducive to her family lifestyle. She didn’t give up. She then joined Weight Watchers and has done a phenomenal job of losing weight, helping her husband to lose weight and encouraging our mom to follow the WW program and lose weight. I am in awe of her – she is gorgeous! She has lost so much weight her wedding dress no longer fits – it is too big!

She and I have talked about various diet methods and she brought a new perspective to me – she said Weight Watchers is the “easy way out.” “Are you sure?” I asked. She told me, “When I went to Maui for a week in September I elected to not count points – it was my vacation and I did not have to count points.” Now, she came back from Maui tan and gorgeous, so I know she didn’t go crazy on fattening food. She continued, “If you go to Maui you can’t leave your gastric bypass at home – it goes with you. That can’t be easy.”

I was dumbfounded – I had always thought WLS was perceived by others as my “easy fix,” but she is correct, I’m stuck with my tool 24/7 – I don’t get a free-for-all food vacation. Julie was able to enjoy the banana bread on the Island, but I can never do that or I will have a dumping episode. Simple fact.

Isn’t it interesting how my sister and I have the utmost respect for the methods we each have elected to use to control our inherited obesity?

That’s what Sandi talked about in her post. She said, “I want to revel in anyone's success with this overwhelming battle. I don't want to feel less of a person because others took a different path than me. After watching this show last night, I thought, "who will be standing at my finish line?" Who will cheer for us? Will the world only give us a token nod, and smugly whisper that we somehow cheated our way to victory? How cruel ignorance is!”

My dear LivingAfterWLS friends – we are here for each other – to stand at the finish line and cheer for joy over the big victories and the little victories. We are here for the good and the bad times. Who better than us to understand the pain, torment and absolute hard work it takes to overcome a medical crisis?

Previously on this LivingAfterWLS Blog we’ve featured the story of Kelly McCamey, the brave woman who decided to give conventional dieting one more try – she was not ready to commit to gastric bypass. Today I received an inspiring email from Kelly. “I just wanted to say HEY and update you on my progress. I am now 58 pounds into my weight loss!! I am still going to Jenny Craig - and still pushing everyday. I know the holidays are so hard for us all, and I am struggling with that myself. I still managed to lose 2 pounds during the (Thanksgiving) holiday! I am still in HIGH mode, and nothing will bring me down.”

Kelly deserves someone at her finish line too! It is my goal, my dream and the desire of my heart that as the LivingAfterWLS community evolves we show no prejudice to our own people. Obesity is a heartbreaking disease. Fighting it is a difficult life-long battle no matter the method or tool. We need cheerleaders. We need one another. Kelly said, “Thanks so much for wanting to be a part of my personal struggle with my weight. Everyone is so encouraging it just makes me work harder.”

We are all in this together. Thanks Sandi, Julie and Kelly for the inspiration today.

Take care,


Sandi said...

I really appreciated Julie's outlook--and it reminded me exactly why I DID choose this tool. In my life as a dieter, my "food vacations" kept getting longer, my periods of focus getting shorter. I figure I've eaten enough goodies to last me the rest of my life. I want to obsession with the next delicious thing to be over. I want to be healthy above all else. Julie's insight really helped me regain my focus. Thanks for the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

I for one am glad to read this and feel welcome here. I am so in debt to Kay and Living After WLS. On *other* sites I read all the time that people treat the window as the only time to comply with the WLS lifestyle and then they go on food vacation and regain the weight. Kay has helped me get it in my head that to keep my weight off I have to make WLS a lifestyle, not just a temporary phase until I go on eating vacation again. I've been on a 30-year eating vaction. Now I am LIVING.
In addition I am happy and applaud others who have chosen differnt tools for weight loss - I wish you the best lifelong success.

Thank you.
Karen C.
Phoenix, AZ