Why This Loser Didn’t Have Bariatric Surgery
If you’ve read my prior posts (like THIS one), you know that I am attempting to lose 200 or so pounds using ONLY proper diet and nutrition. I am offering my life as a sort of experiment, to try and answer the question “can a morbidly obese person, with a limited budget, lose weight and live healthy”? Prior to that game plan, I found myself sitting in a bariatric surgeon’s office, filling out paperwork and waiting for my consult. I felt ashamed, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on why.
First, facts about the old me:
Heaviest Weight: 425 lbs
When I went to my family doc for the “I’m fat, please tell me there’s something wrong with me” physical before that, he told me I had normal blood sugar, blood pressure, pulse, breathing, everything. No imblances, no injuries, no defects. Clean bill of health. He basically told me I had no excuse for being the size I was, and that he’d personally kill me if I came back again the same size. Nice. Busted. I got myself into this mess by eating and not moving….I was going to get myself out of it by eating less and MOVING….aLOT.
All this hit me hard sitting in that surgeon’s office, looking at financing options for the $24,000 surgery my insurance wouldn’t cover. I couldn’t do it- I had no reasonable excuse. The scenario of risk vs. reward is different for everyone, but here’s why it doesn’t work for me:
COST- Average cost for gastric bypass, for example, is anywhere from $18,000 to $35,000, depending on your location. My insurance would not cover this, as is the case with many carriers. I don’t do debt, so financing the surgery wasn’t an option. I decided to give better food (gotta eat anyway) a try.
RISKS- 10% of bariatric surgery patients have complications following surgery, 5% have life-threatening complications (blood clots, heart attack, infection). 1.9% DIE in the next 30 days. Low risk, but high enough for me.
AFTER-EFFECTS- Poor absorption of nutrition, and the need for life-long supplementation after surgery. If I DON’T get surgery, I can still take supplements, cheaper ones, and get better absorption of nutrients. I have to eat smaller meals, more often, because of a smaller stomach size. What’s funny is this- (From WebMD) “Even after gastric bypass surgery, losing weight requires motivation and changes in a person’s behavior. Adapting to eating several small meals a day can be difficult for some people. Exercise is important to keep weight off.”
RE-GAIN- Losing 60-80% of my excess weight (135-180 lbs for me) sounds great, but some studies show a 33% failure rate, and normal 40% re-gain in the 10 years post-surgery. So 33% of people re-gain ALL the weight they lost, and most folks gain back 40% in the 10 years following.
So, I could spend $18-35k on surgery, maybe die, spend 3 weeks of vacation time, have to take specific vitamins for life, AND I STILL have to eat smaller meals more often and exercise? All that, and I may still find myself gaining back some or ALL of what I lost? Doesn’t it seem like I could skip a very large, risky, EXPENSIVE step?
Now I realize that everyone’s situation is different, and please don’t read this as a condemnation of those who have chosen the surgical route. I understand, I really do. All I’m asking is that you consider looking at what it would REALLY take to lose the weight on your own. Do your homework. Get a physical, go see your doc, and make sure you’re fit enough to begin. Then just MOVE. Walk, swim, do some “Sweatin to the Oldies”, whatever. The best exercise for you at that point is the one you will DO. Weigh the risks, because I promise, you are WORTH having around. Don’t wait one more day to do SOMETHING.