Tomorrow is the day. The next chapter in my weight loss journey begins. It isn’t the last chapter since my journey will continue forever. I will always need to think about my weight, my eating habits and exercise. I have no doubt about that. Tomorrow is the start of my new way of eating, thinking and living.
At about 11:30 AM, part of my stomach will be removed. Adios! Au Revoir! Buh Bye! It isn’t magic, but gastric sleeve surgery. For a more scientific explanation, visit http://www.sutterpacific.org/bariatrics/weightloss/vertical-gastrectomy.html. In a nutshell, my stomach becomes a sleeve that can hold about 1 to 2 ounces. My surgeon will stitch me back up and I will stay overnight at the hospital. Assuming my new stomach isn’t leaking the next day, I’ll be right back home and start losing weight.
Sounds easy, right? It won’t be that way and I know that. The gastric sleeve is just a tool to help me lose weight. The new stomach forces me to be mindful of my portions and types of food I eat. It may seem like a quick fix, but in fact this is a lifestyle change. It gives me the eating boundaries I need.
While I love spontaneity and surprises, I actually thrive on structure. I’m a planner, sometimes to a fault. In the case of my eating habits, this is what I need. The gastric sleeve will make me think, make me plan and actually physically keep me from overeating. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I need this kind of physical boundary to keep me in check.
Oh, I’m good with boundaries like diets. I am a successful dieter for about four months. After that I’m bored or frustrated with the diet. Or I’m full of confidence that I can continue or maintain the weight loss on my own. The key problem with this is that I said the word, diet, not lifestyle change. Diets are temporary and don’t work for me. I needed to think of my weight loss journey as a lifestyle change, a permanent one. I am finally committing to a lifestyle change with my surgery.
It is this commitment that makes this time different. There is no going back. My stomach will not grow. Yes, it can stretch a bit, but eating large amounts of food will not work or vomiting will ensue. I have a slightly irrational fear of vomiting. That fear alone will help keep me in line, physically. Mentally, it will actually be harder for me. Eating mindlessly, eating when happy, eating when sad, they are all part of me. I have to remove this part of me on my own.
In theory, eating right and exercising will take and keep the weight off. I honestly wish I was that person who could succeed on her own. I am not. I need help and I am finally admitting it and taking charge of my health and my life. To many, this must seem like such a drastic step and I agree it is a huge undertaking. I haven’t made this decision lightly or without considering the risks involved.
After more than six months of waiting (required by my health insurance), researching, thinking, talking with friends and family, and a bit of good old-fashioned praying, I decided that the gastric sleeve surgery is the best path for me to follow. Fortunately, loving and supportive family and friends surround me. This journey is about me and what I need and want, but I can’t walk it alone. And I don’t want to be alone. I’ve been alone too long in this obese hell and I am thankful I won’t be going Down the Scale alone…
I look forward to following you on this journey. By the looks of your picture, you’ve already started losing weight. You look great! Now it’s time for you to see yourself looking great. I’m here for you…I know a doctor or two (ha!) so reach out if I can help along the way.
Thanks so much, Joelle! I’ve always appreciated your support and encouragment!