Okay - I'm starting this post out with a disclaimer:
That being said, I know I'm going to piss off a lot of people with this post. I opted NOT to have surgery, and that was the best choice for me.
"But Jaycie, you weren't 300-600 lbs - why would you even think of surgery, to begin with?"
Now THAT is a very good question. I know about five people - great friends of mine, and inspirational women - who may not have had the luxury of time or the ability to dedicate the effort to a program. Or those who, unfortunately, struggled and potentially still struggle with disorders of body dysmorphia and clinically are suffering and waging a different battle than anyone could even imagine... I admire you and your abilities to make it day to day with these issues (We all have *some*thing that gets to us).
I get it - losing weight the 'hard way' or by slow, methodical steps, is not only time-consuming and non-conducive to the fast pace we live in, sometimes we have to face that for some is just not possible.
Back in 2012, I worked part-time. 20 hours a week, came home and had the time to meal prep and work out almost twice a day. I was 265 lbs, and I had the advantage of an affordable personal trainer to teach me the things I needed to know. I had help and extra income from my then-boyfriend when this all started, to boot. I had a support system in him at the time, and he allowed me to experiment new dinners and replacements such as zoodles or cauliflower 'mash' instead of the real thing (Well, I kind of took the reins and didn't allow him to say no in hindsight, but it made him healthier too haha).
I don't think I could ever thank my ex (from when I began this journey in 2012) enough for allowing me the freedoms that he did, actually. In a true comparison to the relationship that followed him, I definitely can say that I couldn't have flourished the way I did without the constant affirmation that I was doing a great job. That's what I'm trying to be for you all...
They say when you're actually tired of living a certain lifestyle, there isn't a single thing that can get in your way; not even yourself. I want to say that's true, but if I'd started this journey with anyone else, I probably would've given up not even halfway. It's just as much about support as it is diet and exercise if I'm honest. For some, that means a surgery. That means a liquid recovery diet, bed rest with minor aches and pains, not being able to play with your kids for a span of time for fear of incision infection or other site woes. I don't even know the full list because personally, I haven't done it. For others, like me, that means going to the gym four or five times a week, planing what muscle groups and what meals you're going to eat for the next week and managing grocery lists. Melting it away over time was the option I went for, and it wasn't because that's what I wanted - it's because it was my only option.
What not a lot of people know about me is in 2010, I had a consultation for lap band.
I was recently 21, and already 250lbs. I was in my Master's degree program and not exactly sure how it had gotten to that point. I ate whatever I wanted, regardless of how it made me feel physically (ill, laggy, gross, etc) and I didn't exercise but maybe run a half mile a week.
I read up about the surgery and looking back on it now, I'm so glad I didn't do it. I opted OUT of my choice to cut into my own body and recover from a surgery on top of the already added changes I would have to make simply because I didn't like how my body looked. I didn't opt for scars, liquid diets, and modifying my eating habits because I had to - I had the emotional and mental strength to change my mind about the way I view food and the healthy relationship I have with it now...
It's everywhere now though - the easy fix. For those who may not even actually *need* it (as far as health concerns go).
One morning on my way to work, I heard an ad on the radio for gastric bypass surgery. The woman in the ad claimed to only need to lose twenty pounds and professed that the advertised surgery and program was the best and most effective way to do it for her (Heavy eye-roll).
One night while babysitting a few months ago, I scrolled past TLC's my 600 lb life, "Lupe's Story". In between commercial breaks, there was another ad for this pill that is an appetite suppressant and suppresses cravings for go-to foods. The side effects? Suicidal thoughts or actions, depression increased blood pressure, nausea, constipation, migraines and the list goes on. I'm sorry, but I already have depression. I don't need to put myself further into yet another category of struggle, on purpose.
WHY ON GODS GREEN EARTH WOULD I SUBJECT MYSELF TO THAT just to be skinny?!
First - It's supposed to be "I want to be *HEALTHY* - but that was what I used to think it meant. Skinny was what I once wanted to be. Until I changed my mentality.
Look. I GET being depressed. I GET feeling like a beached whale. As if no one loves you enough for the person you are inside and like everyone is silently or outwardly judging you when you eat. When you walk in a size-too-small outfit but it's the only one you could find that fit you. When you're trying to exercise but get it in your head that people are looking at you and making fun of you.
I still struggle with that to this day.
I struggle with overeating. I struggle with knowing better and taking the easy way out. I know what it feels like to utterly loathe yourself while eating six jack in the box tacos for $3 or a fried chicken sandwich for $1 - and how easy it is to pull up to the drive-thru window instead of prep vegetables and cook for 30 minutes in the kitchen for something that may or may not hit the spot or curb your craving for French fries. It's absolutely maddening!
The complete opposites that go through my mindset on a given day is nuts. I look at my body and get sad, then when I get sad, I think "what's the point?"
You get it. My point - THE point - is NOTHING WORTH HAVING COMES EASY. Even surgery.
Yeah, that's right. I said it. I've been saying it since the beginning on here though (How to Be Enough, Shedding the Mental Fat Suit).. there is NO MAGIC PILL. There is no easy fix to being overweight.
To those friends of mine who have had surgery, or are going to be on the table in the future: With every genuine fiber of my being, I really hope you know that it's not about what your body looks like. It's how you FEEL - it's how you love yourself, by NOURISHING yourself with both compassion and food, alike.
Surgery, to me, would only temporarily fix my issue. If I was still in the same detrimental mindset, AND didn't do the hard work to EARN it in both the kitchen and the gym, I would never have appreciated it in the end - and I definitely wouldn't have kept it up.
You won't change your habits by simply cutting or inflating parts of your stomach. It's just not going to stay or stick.
You have to change your mind
You have to get help for addiction or therapy for why you eat your feelings (that's my issue). Food is so very clearly an addictive substance. Cutting corners like that is not going to get you anywhere.
I know people who will probably get mad or misunderstand me. What I am NOT saying is "surgery won't help you". It does work, but only if you DO IT RIGHT.
Please read what this young woman had to say about her surgery and why she regretted it.
It's a beautiful homage to ALL struggles. Surgery or not.