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Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Next Step:
Normalizing Life with Surgical Weight Loss

(This is me and my husband, January 2007)

by Kaye Bailey
For three years of my life my thoughts, actions and focus were on one thing only: weight loss surgery. Nothing but weight loss surgery. This full-throttle-focus began the year I researched and scheduled my gastric bypass and continued for the next two years post-op as I morphed through the biggest change of my life.

And then one day I yelled "STOP!" and declared that I am not just a recovering morbidly obese person - I am a person of many dimensions beyond gastric bypass and living the weight loss surgery life. I declared a moratorium on all things weight loss surgery.

No doubt, my husband was greatly relieved for me to put that chapter to rest. Lord knows the man is patient, but he had been my one and only sounding board for three years. He was exhausted of the topic too.

Goodbye weight loss surgery person. Hello new me. I Had Arrived.

What a relief to get back to "normal". Pretend "IT" was no longer there. Not worry about the rules, the protein counts, the exercise minutes and those minor complications (dumping & vomiting). Just living. Wow! It was liberating to be about more than weight loss, surgery, four rules and curious transformation.

So for several months, almost half a year, we lived around that pink elephant (WLS) pretending it was not there and I was normal.

And guess where that *normal* got me? Yes, you know. Back to the old habits that caused my obesity in the first place. Poor food choices, dismissal of physical activity and a "devil be damned I will live how I want attitude." This was my first weight gain after surgery and my first lesson: I am not, nor will I ever be "normal". For the rest of my life, every single day, I will have to be concerned and vigilant about weight control. I will never be a person who can eat all she wants, never exercise and not gain weight. That is not my normal. Harsh reality.

So, the next task was to find balance. I certainly didn't want to go back to 24-7 all-consuming weight loss surgery living. But I couldn't forsake the my health and weight simply living in denial.

As so many of us learn, going back to "normal" is like playing with fire. While we cannot let our surgical solution tyrannize our lives, we cannot become complacent about the lifestyle we signed up for - for life.

During this last month at LivingAfterWLS we have been discussing the 5 Day Pouch Test - an opportunity to rediscover "The Tool" and a method of detoxifying from a carbohydrate cycle or poor snacking behavior. The response to this plan has been phenomenal as our WLS friends are discovering that they are not failures, the tool is not broken and with a little maintenance we can rev-up the engine and work it again, just like it was brand new.

In the days and weeks to come we will discuss methods to find balance between that ALL-WLS mentality and a NO-WLS mentality. We will look at ways to thrive in our "new normal" so that long-term weight maintenance is ours for the taking. Watch for your You Have Arrived Newsletters, the Recipe of the Week, the LivingAfterWLS Blog and the Neighborhood Community for the information you need to find balance and success with your surgical weight loss. Together we can make this work.


BamaGal said...

Great Post Kaye!!! You must go on about your life---but you must also remember the WLS is a part of it for the duration. You can never undo the surgery. You have to be willing to embrace the fact that it will be a part of you from now on.
If you continue to try and live the same life you did before you had WLS---you will end up with the same result---morbidly obese.
If someone seeking WLS is not committed to change everything about their life---they should never even attempt to embark on the journey. You have to commit to it completely or risk failed health and regain.

Sandy said...

This message is so important to me. I am scheduled for WLS 9/24/07, and I am question myself constantly. You have given me a great deal to think about....and talk about with my family. I look forward to reading more, learning more and finding peace with my decision. I never realized a decision to have what I've always wanted would be so very hard and scary.