I read a letter from a woman today that was waiting anxiously on an ok to have Bariatric surgery. I felt the urge to tell her that surgery is not always the answer. I once weighed 528 pounds. I had the weight loss surgery 15 years ago…before it was proven and popular. Back then, it was a life saving measure and you had to be 150 pounds overweight to even be considered for the procedure. I literally begged my insurance company to cover it. Bed ridden and miserable I wrote letter after letter to my insurance company. I finally convinced my own personal doctor to compose a letter to them as well, insuring them that I would not survive another year at my present weight. Her letter seemed to work and in fact, I believe that I was the first patient approved by the WELLNESS plan for that surgery. At 528 pounds the operation gave me a new lease on life and I lost 200 pounds in a year. Basically I starved myself to death. No one taught me anything about nutrition, exercise or eating healthy. Eventually, the momentum slowed and I stopped losing. It was about that time that I figured out that if I “grazed” on food all day long, I could get my “fix”, despite the surgery. My addiction also took on another dimension. I began to drink and drink a lot. Needless to say that fast forward 7 years later and you find me miserable again, having gained back 150 of those misplaced pounds. There I was, lonely, fat and despondent.
Then one evening, I found myself laying drunk in my driveway after haven fallen getting out of a friend’s car. I sat there in the blowing snow for more than an hour, while my friend tried diligently to get me up and in the house. Apparently she succeeded. I awoke the next morning lying on my living room floor with a severe hangover and a shattered wrist. And there you have it. My absolute rock bottom. It was at that very moment that I had an epiphany! A light went off in my head and I made up my mind to do something drastic that afternoon. I quit drinking right then and there (it’s been over 3 years now). I walked into my first Weight Watchers meeting that night and eventually, went on to lose all the weight I had regained, only this time doing it the healthy way. Realizing that my overeating and drinking issues had to be the result of other underlying problems, I went for some counseling to help me get to the root of my addictions. That woman literally saved my life.
This Tuesday, my leader presented me with a bouquet of flowers and the class applauded me for the new blog and the honesty of my writing. I weighed in at 297 pounds that day…the smallest I have been in 25 years. Some may laugh at me for being proud of that number. I am probably still bigger still than most of you will ever be. However, walking out of that weight watchers meeting carrying those flowers, I felt like a Miss America as I sauntered down that sidewalk. The difference was not just the weight loss but the hope and confidence I felt at that moment. I knew that I would one day reach my destination. Your weight is a frame of mind. Dwelling on a single weigh-in can make or break your program. Appreciate the little losses because believe me, in time…they add up! It will be a while before I reach my “Goal Weight”. It won’t be today and it won’t be tomorrow. I realize this, I accept it and that’s ok. I will get there and get healthy in the process. Surgery is only a short term solution to a lifelong problem. Take it from me. I know.
Fondly, Alana Marie