Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Easy Way Out

OK, so this has been coming for a long time. Ever since I made the decision to have the lapband about 18 months ago I have had an overwhelmingly positive response to those who I have told (which isn't many), but with the good, comes the bad. Most lapbanders have had to put up with some negativity and I am no different. A lot of the time I hear negative (and uninformed) comments about weight loss surgery it is not even directly to me, it is just general conversation from family, friends or colleagues who don't know I have had surgery or discussion on other blogs/forums.

The most common response to weight loss surgery is that it is the easy way out. I say if it is the easy way out, who cares, why do you want to do it the hard way? There is validation is choosing the harder path in some situations in life, but when you have lost and gained the same weight for your whole life, for me it was time to accept some help. It's like not taking medication when you are sick because you prefer to suffer and possibly never get better. That is OK with me for someone to make this choice, it's your decision and weight loss surgery certainly isn't for everyone. I just don't judge anyone else's choices for how they decide to deal with their own body.

I have two friends who had the surgery over 10 years ago and at the time I personally didn't feel like having a lapband was the right choice for me. I was happy for them that it worked and that they were happy, but I wasn't in the right place to make the decision. I felt like I still needed to try and lose weight on my own and I did try for the next 10 years, every single day, and I gained 30 kilos. In the end I made the right decision for me at the right time.

The other misconception is that it even is 'easy'. Let me tell you, I have lost weight both with and without the lapband and this is not the easy option. Every step of the way has been extremely difficult, from making the decision, telling friends and family, the pre-surgery appointments, the pre-op diet, the actual surgery, the post-op diet and then post-op appointments and fills. You have to deal with extreme hunger, emotional issues, hair loss, constipation, exhaustion and weakness, port pain, food getting stuck in the band, not being able to eat certain foods ever again and just general confusion on what the hell you are doing.

The main thing that people don't understand is that the success of the band is entirely up to the individual and it is just a tool and doesn't guarantee weight loss. I still have to choose to go to the gym 4 times a week for between and 1-2 hours each visit. I still have to choose to eat healthy foods. I still have to choose not to snack between meals. I still have to choose not to overeat. I wish the lapband was a magical solution, but it isn't.

Every person that has a lapband has a different experience, you just have to read the blogs and forums to see that. For me, this is the hardest thing I have ever done, but it is worth it because I honestly believe it will help me lose weight and get healthy for the first time in my life and I wouldn't change a thing.

18 comments:

  1. A friend of mine got a lap band last year; unfortunately, for him, he was hoping for a miracle cure. At first he was full of news about his weight loss, and was telling me I should look in to it. I largely stopped talking to him when he began telling me that my stance on fat acceptance was just because I was too lazy to diet--I found that hilarious considering he's too lazy to manage his eating and exercise in accordance with the band! For some people, though, I know it can be an amazing help. I've read enough about it to know it's really just not the easy way out!

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  2. This is a good post; I was lurking on your site before the operation, I remember when you announced that you had decided to go for it, and one thought that didn't cross my mind was 'she's taking the easy way out!' How anyone can think of surgery as an easy option is beyond me... I guess its because the failure rate in surgery patients who don't make the lifestyle changes isn't really publicised a lot, so people believe its as simple as coming round from the anaesthetic 10 lbs lighter, followed by losing 14 lbs a week (in your sleep probably!) every week until you're done. Personally I think it was a brave decision on your part, and as I've read a few other blogs by post surgery weight loss bloggers I realise the long term impact on your lives is far from insignificant, so I admire the fact that you were willing to take such a radical step to resolve health issues that were ruining your quality of life and potentially dramatically shortening your life as well. Sadly I guess there will always be people who prefer ill-informed criticism to actually finding out the truth, and I hope it doesn't get you down!

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  3. Great post, Tully. And hear hear.. nothing you said was untrue. People can both be insensitive and just plain ignorant.. sometimes it's hard to deal with these people full stop.

    I agree - this was not the easy way out.. but that said, for me at least, I think it has been the best route to weight loss I've ever taken mainly because - well, shit it works!! Nothing has ever produced results for like this has.. but easy in day to day life? Hmm, maybe not so much.

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  4. Hi ya, I've always thought that people must have a few screws loose when they say 'surgery is the easy way out' as I completely agree with your statement about why make things harder.

    I haven't had surgery (and probably won't, mainly due to finances) but a lady I used to work with had it done about 8 years ago. She went from around 150kg to approx 75kg and had struck the odd person who said "oh you have taken the easy way out" to which her standard reply was "So",,,,,, ????? but of course the people who critise or say such a stupid thing don't have a reply to that.

    I think it seems to be human nature that people can't stand the thought of someone achieving something with assistance, but this just says more about their own jealous nature then the real facts at hand.

    Although I continue to struggle with my weight I am genuinely happy (thrilled in fact) for anyone who loses weight and can get rid of the continous struggle as I know how damn hard it is. This happiness is certainly not conditional or dependent on if they battled on their own, or had surgery. I believe that real friends will be happy for you regardless of how it was achieved as their concern should be solely on if your happy and have nothing to do with whether there was medical intervention or not.

    Ok, enough ranting, but its an issue I have an opinion on as I can tell that as soon as I hear someone critising a persons choice for having weight loss surgery, they are either someone who doesn't understand the battle, or are jealous.

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  5. Can someone please explain this for me, I honestly just don't get it;
    If you have the band done and you still have to exercise regularly, eat healthy foods and smaller portions what is the benefit of the band? Wouldn't you lose just as much weight if you did that without the band? Is it because it makes you feel full? Regardless I don't see how anyone can call such drastic lifestyle changes and surgery easy.

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  6. I produced a t-shirt that said:

    If your fad diet worked as well as my weight loss surgery, you'd look this good now!

    Haters are mostly jealous.

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  7. Much respect to you, Tully -- there is no way anyone could ever think your surgery and post-surgery life is "easy". You're doing so well, and are really an inspiration on putting your mind to something.

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  8. Well said Tully.

    Surgery is certainly not the easy way out. Sure the band helps us to control the amount of food we can consume but it does not control the kinds of food we consume. We still need to exercise and make the right food choices. It is not a miracle potion, it is a tool that helps those of us who choose to work with it.

    You've done well and worked hard to achieve your success. Nothing easy about that.

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  9. Hi..
    I've been reading your blog for almost a year..
    At first i was a little bitter when you decided to go for the lapbad.... I made a judgement..
    I assumed that it was I guess the easy way out.

    But I've seen how hard you've had to work.. I've seen you lose the weight and hopefully keep it off.

    Yes there are lots of people who have lap bands and don't lose the weight or gain it all back.. or give in and have it removed.

    But your strength and determination was enough to change my mind.
    I really admire that you've stuck wtih it, and continued to make good choices when it comes to saving your life and removing yourself from a lifetime of obesity.

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  10. Well said Tully. As they say horses for courses & each to their own. Bands aren't for everyone; but I've certainly seen that it is still very hard work!!!

    Lovely to hear you are in a "good" place right now.

    Well done on all your hard work to date.

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  11. Great post....it certainly is not a light decision or an easy way out!!! It is a tool that can or can't be used by the recipient.

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  12. Very good post.
    I have to be honest and say I always thought weight loss surgery was 'taking the easy way out'.... but like you.. I have done it 'on my own'... and gone up and down for the last 30! years... and I am now for the first time in MY LIFE considering having the surgery too.

    The only thing stopping me right this second is the cost... got a spare $15,000???? NZ costs.

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  13. *applauds*

    I couldn't have said it better myself and I am only at the start of this journey.

    I had a friend message me a few days ago who said "Always question the commenters motive. Are they jealous, because they WISH they could have the surgery?" Are they worried about you dying in surgery? Are they really lacking in information and don't know what they are talking about and repeating what they've heard on the grapevine?"

    For me, this is the SMART option after 23 years of yo-yo dieting.

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  14. Long time lurker, first time poster...Congrats on your great achievement! I have absolutely no idea how anyone could describe surgery, the pain that follows and the months of carefully monitoring the amount of food you eat an easy way out. You are truly inspirational!

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  15. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions it's sad that so many people feel they have the right to impress them upon people.

    I agree with you that it's a personal decision, just as I agree (from what i've read) that it's definitely not an easy decision to make.

    I think it takes courage to make such a monumentous decision to take back control of your life and that's exactly what you're doing. You should be proud to have a lap band. I know that it's still an option in my future.

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  16. I was looking for a good book to help me with my diet. In the end I googled it and found this site http://www.hungryforweightloss.com.

    They are giving away a free ebook called "365 tips for healthy living". I didn't expect it to be any good because it's free but it's actually brilliant so I thought i'd share it here :)

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  17. Oh god! May I suggest NOT reading the comments on the news.com.au article today about teenagers getting lapbands? Bloody hell! I never learn ... don't read comments on news ltd. articles to do with anything immigration, indigenous, women or weight related.

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  18. I agree when I made the decision, I only told my family- who would be there for post operative care.

    Despite the discomfort, the vomiting and the drama- I also wouldn't change a thing!!!

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Awww thanks so much for the comment!