Thursday, January 6, 2011

Losing Weight is the Vehicle to Health

If ever there was an indication of how quickly a year can fly by, one need only look at this first week.  I cannot believe we are almost done with the first week of 2011 already! 

Yesterday, I happened to catch part of a show (already in progress, so didn't catch the name).  It was about gastric bypass surgery, based in Houston, I think.  The show was following two or three patients.  I didn't catch anything but a few minutes, but what an interesting few minutes.  The surgeon was having a post-op consultation with one of the patients.  (Everything was going great.)  But, while she was thrilled to be losing weight already, he cautioned her that he wants to see about 10 lbs. per month coming off. 

That is nothing to sneeze at, because it equals 120 lbs. in a year.  But, I was surprised that was the figure, and it wasn't higher.  (The patient DID lose more than that average, but the doc was telling her that 10 lbs per month is what he wanted to see, to minimize muscle tissue loss.) 

That got me to thinking.

I looked at my own average.  Sure enough, I'm losing on average (so far) about 10.5 lbs a month, albeit without surgery. 

I am not opposed to surgery.  There is a method of weight loss out there to suit every person and every circumstance.  The portion of the show I saw was a real eye-opener on the process.   I don't think anyone could go into that surgery without giving it serious thought and consideration, or have a tremendous need for the surgical intervention.  The surgery is life-altering, and still requires an enormous dedication to diet (afterwards).  That is not an easy thing to go through!  And I thought dieting (alone) was tough ...

But there is a lesson there too.  Sometimes, those are the measures that must be taken to save a life.  I think people sometimes assume such surgery is a lazy person's quick fix or something.  But, it is hardly that. 

Instead, people need to recognize how dangerous (truly) obesity is, and outright life-threatening the longer such weight is carried.   And, for those of us who don't feel surgery is right for us, we STILL need to recognize we are in very real danger too, if we are obese (and especially if we've been obese for a while).

My problem, until this diet attempt, is that I looked at this problem as something I "should" do something about, eventually.  That was just pure Russian Roulette thinking. 

It isn't "I should" but "I MUST" do something about this... and with some sense of urgency. 

I can't ignore the issue anylonger.  Youth is no longer on my side, protecting me.  Middle age has come to roost, and is much less forgiving.  I've tried the "bury my head in the sand" approach (ignore it, and it will magically just not be there).  It didn't work.  Not noticing doesn't mean it wasn't there after all.  What a revelation.

My January doctor appointment is looming.  I keep remembering what his nurse told me, more or less "great that I lost weight, but don't feel bad if I gain some back by the next visit - everyone does." 

Everyone does.

What the heck kind of observation is that to make?  Well, apparently, the right one for me to hear, because I became that much more determined to not just keep the weight off, but to continue on ...

It is for me, that I do this.  I'm just using the doctor appointments as a sort of official benchmark.  Plus, I have strong incentive to see my numbers continue to improve.  I was blown out of the water, that after just three months, I was able to lose (entirely) my cholesterol medication.  My liver must love me. 

I've lost another 30 lbs (approx.) since that last appointment, so far.  This next one should be equally fun.  I can't wait to see my doctor's reaction.  He was so shocked last time.   And if "everyone" gains some weight back (especially with a post-Christmas appointment), I can't imagine he won't be equally surprised this next visit.  Mostly, though, I want to see my numbers continue to improve (or remain good), and maybe reduce further some medication.

My journey is about gaining health.  Losing weight and eating properly is the vehicle that gets me there.




  1. Very interesting post! I, too, have always thought I "should" lose weight, but you are absolutely right, it's a MUST. I did consider surgery, but after lots of thought decided it wasn't for me, so I am trying on my own. Your story is inspiring and I hope to be as successful as you!

  2. Excellent and thought provoking post, Ann. I am with you, buried my own head in the sand of denial for years. Not any more. I , too, am solidly in middle age. It is honestly easier than I ever thought. You just have to do it! Eat less, move more. Michele

  3. I can't believe the complete denial I was in for so many years. It's amazing. I can't even say I was a yoyo dieter, I did nothing about it.

    It's nice that you'll surprise your doctor but I still think it's sad to tell an obese woman that "you wouldn't be surprised if they gained weight over the holidays". If you hadn't been so focused, it would have been like she was giving you permission to gain weight.

  4. Great post!

    I'm also hoping to surprise my dr. as he told me it would almost be impossible for me to lose weight without medication (thyroid and insulin resistance issues). With hard work and diet I hope I can drop the pounds.

    I wish I could have seen that show you were talking about. Sounds interesting.

    You're doing fantastic. I'm really impressed.

  5. Great post, Ann..

    I have to say, the misconception of weight loss surgery astounds me.. Yeah, I thought it was the easy way to lose weight too, until my mom went through with the gastric bypass sleeve (the newer version of GB).. seeing her go to so many appointments, so many studies, so many tests.. just to get approved! and she said that the hospital she works for (and insurance through it) is pretty lenient on acceptance.. but still, my mom has lost about 70 lbs in 7 months, so I think she's on that right track.. and she eats SO LITTLE food! I can't imagine.. lol

  6. This is a great heartfelt post. You are so right, surgery is not an easy way out wuite the opposite actaully! My mother had "the bypass" and lost 100 pounds in 9 months, then got off track and BAM put it all back on plus more! Now there are lots of underlying emotional issues with her that she failed to deal with but still she has the physical impairment of the surgery internally and now have all types of physical problems some relating to the surgery. The surgery didn't fail - she did and my heart breaks for her.

    Anyway - thanks for the motivation!

  7. I love it when we can take control of our lives and our health despite what a professional says. I love it that we have that choice, that we can beat the odds. It says so much for the human spirit. It really is about desire and persistence and not giving up. How bad to we want it, and have we found the right vehicle to get it?

    My brother had gastric by pass and he lost a lot of weight. Some of it is back. I wish I would have found this program I am on before his surgery. It's about learning to live better. It's about making that lifestyle change. I once thought that surgery was my only option. It seemed too hard and too big of a mountain to tackle. I love surprising my doctor now and he even told me that most of his patients that try to lose weight, very few are successful like we have been. I would love to see more people be successful!!

    Take care Ann!

  8. Wonderful post. I have a friend who had gastric bypass, but didn't deal with the reasons that she was over 400 pounds to begin with—she became addicted to pain pills after her surgery. That was more than 10 years ago. She called me over Christmas and was obviously intoxicated. That was the first time I'd heard from her in about 9 years. What do you say? I don't know.

  9. I can't wait for you to show your doctor just how serious you are about your health! :) You are rocken.

    Eating right is the key! My brother is a fire fighter, and has a very keen interest in keeping himself fit and strong. He has always been the lean one of the two of us.

    Last year he said to me "this is my formula - Get fit on the road, get strong in the gym, get lean in the kitchen". I put that up on my blog as a reminder that the key is food. I can run and lift weights as much as I want... but if I don't get control over the food I put in me.. I will never be lean.

    Here is to an amazing next 10 months to us.

  10. I haven't worried at all about muscle/lean tissue loss cause I do two tough strength training exercises a week with my Pilates pro--and I've done that for 2.5 years (well I started at THREE times a week which was great, but couldn't afford it, and even 2x is robbing my retirement, but I figured that I woudn't HAVE a retirement worth having if I didn't get fit and slim down.)

    I've built muscle. I love feeling muscle under the now emptying-skin. Muscle rocks!

    So, for anyone doing 1200 cals or 1500 cals or anything in the dieting range, you guys better strength train. I've seen what happens when people loes weight without building muscle, especially low-cal diets (ever see the gaunt, dehydrated, saggy skin look of WLS people?), and it's not purdy. Hubby lost 35 pounds out of stress (working al ot, eating little) the year he wrote his book, and he didn't workout (was working like a fiend) and it ended up being slim, yeah, but without tone--bony thin. Fortunately, his bones are cute.

    But gals, you don't want to have gaunt, hollowed out, untoned slim. That sucks.

  11. I was just watching one of those shows this weekend also, I think it was called half ton mom. Or something like that, the woman was morbid obese. She had young daughters and I remember watching it thinking I was so happy for her and her girls, but then she died in post op.It shocked me. It was so distressful to me, the oldest of the daughters was like 13 and was sobbing, but so brave. She said her mom would have wanted the show to air. I remember just feeling so bad for this family. Gracie

  12. You ARE probably an exception to the rule when it comes to statistics but why wound anyone tell someone that was doing so well what the average person does. You're not average you're AWESOME.


  13. Simply a great post, Ann. I am all about the last paragraph, too.

  14. Weight is just one part of health, you are right as rain, Ann!