I have had a weight issue my entire life, but I first dieted when I was a junior in college. I weighed in at 270lbs and lost 60 lbs that summer, getting to 210 to start the school year. Unfortunately, I never learned how to maintain the weight and quickly started to gain it all right back. Since that time (about 30 years ago) my life has been a continuous yo-yo of poundage. I spent years shopping at the big and tall spots, usually paying more money than I needed to for essential items. I always was having to settle for clothing options that fit but were really never what I wanted to wear. I would go to the beach and avoid getting out of my chair, taking my shirt off and going in the water. I would sit out in the sun, but always wearing a shirt. I would dread wearing a polo shirt as it always clung and highlighted my many attributes. Even to cut the grass you would see me wearing an oxford button down shirt!
Plain and simple – I was just tired of being me! I had sleep apnea and was sleeping with the C-Pap machine, but I was very lucky to not be on medication; my cholesterol was not an issue, my blood pressure was always in a normal range, but I was just tired with the way I looked.
Approximately 5 years ago I attended a seminar. For once I thought I had found the answer to help me. I went through my necessary 6 month insurance evaluation protocol, was finally approved for the surgery and the day before, chickened out and canceled the surgery. I think we all know that losing weight is truly a mind game and that your head has to be in the game at all times. Mine just wasn’t. I honestly felt like such a loser – how could my kids look at me and know that I had to turn to surgery to lose weight. I visited with a nutritionist, set up a program and over 5 months lost 75 lbs, only to give up on the exercise, then give up on planning my meals ahead of time and slowly gained the weight back and more. I gained 85 lbs!
In August of 2010 I attended another seminar. I spoke with my wife, spoke with my boss – they knew my confidence was at an all time low and that I needed to do something to get back in the game of life. Their support to move forward with a surgery was overwhelming and has been the key to my success.
I originally thought the best answer for me was lap-band surgery. However, over the new 6 month insurance waiting period, I learned more and believed Gastric Bypass was my best answer. I could not have been more right! I had learned all about dumping syndrome and the fact that slight levels of sugar could create a bodily reaction that I would feel like I was going to die (promised me that I wouldn’t!) and that it would subside in an hour. I felt I needed that hanging over my head and because of that, have honestly treated this entire situation as if I were an alcoholic. Alcoholics can’t have just one drink and I put my mind to it that I can’t just have one piece of cake, one cupcake, etc. I can say that I have not had either of those since January 25, 2011 when I had my gall bladder removed! I barely ever made it through Lent giving up sweets, and now I have been free for over a year!
When I look to those days of the operation and hospital stay, it felt like I was in a hotel. I was truly pain free, had no issues with the operation and never having been in a hospital before, it felt like more of a hotel stay. Everyone was extremely upbeat about the surgery and very supportive of getting me up and walking as soon as possible. Of course, having a very supporting wife has lead to my success as well. The gastric bypass has been a fantastic tool to utilize, but it is extremely important to always have your head in the game. To do so, I attend the monthly support groups to remain focused and to share both positive and negative experiences with the group. It has been extremely helpful to share recipe ideas, protein ideas and ideas to remain focused.
I lost about 33 lbs on my own and an additional 143 since the surgery – so I went from 387 to 354 and today am just 1 lb. short of my goal to weigh 210 lbs. My BMI was 51 and today is 28.10. A huge difference and something I am still working on. According to all of the charts, I am still considered obese, but I always try to laugh at that instead of getting frustrated by it. Having a 36 inch waist right now surely helps!