After spending several days processing everything, I am finally ready to let you guys in on what’s been going on with me. I debated whether or not to include this information on the blog, because I know that everyone is going to have their own opinions, and while I value hearing others’ views, I really don’t want or need any criticism about the decisions I’ve made. At the same time, I have always been very open and honest on this blog because I want to document my weight loss journey – the good, the bad, and the frustrating. And I’m not about to change that now, just because I would rather not read negative comments.
Thursday I went to the doctor because I’ve been getting really bad headaches every day for weeks now. I thought it was allergy/sinus related, but it turns out my blood pressure is really high. High enough for the doctor to be “very concerned.” (In all that she was about to tell me, I forgot to even ask what the actual blood pressure was, if you can believe it. I think I was in shock).
Anyway, she said that she believed my blood pressure was so high due to my weight. My feet have also been getting really swollen lately, and she commented on that was well. She said that the headaches and swollen feet are an indication of high blood pressure, and it was serious enough that I needed to get on blood pressure medication. Just to be sure that it wasn’t allergies, she did prescribe a nasal spray for me to take for a week, but she said that she wanted me to come back in one week (when the nasal spray would have alleviated the allergies) and if my blood pressure was still high, she was going to put me on the blood pressure medication. I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Although I’ve been obese since high school, I have never truly had a medical problem because of my weight. This was a shock to my system to know that I have finally gotten to the point that I need to take medicine due to complications regarding my obesity.
As you guys might remember, I have gone to my doctor before, expressing my frustration at the lack of progress with my weight loss. For someone who is fairly diligent with weighing and measuring food, tracking what I eat, and getting in activity, I have seen relatively little progress for the last two years. Sure, I’m not perfect 100% of the time, but for the amount of effort that I put in, I should see more progress by now. Many of you compliment me on my perseverance, but I have to be honest and tell you that it’s extremely hard to keep a positive outlook when the progress is so minor.
But back to the doctor. Six months ago when I expressed this frustration (and was brought to tears as I talked about it), she told me that I had to be patient. That I couldn’t expect the results to happen overnight. Which is what I’ve been trying to do. But Thursday she was concerned enough with my blood pressure and my lack of progress in terms of losing weight that she suggested that she’d like me to consider having bariatric surgery. I told her that I didn’t want to do gastric bypass, because it was too invasive, and she said that she would recommend the lap band procedure. She signed me up to attend an informational meeting so that I could find out more about the entire process, and she said that if I felt it was something I could do, she would definitely refer me. She also said that Kaiser has an entire process and procedure with any weight loss surgery. “They’re only going to approve you for the surgery if they feel you’re going to be successful with it. They’re not like some of the other private places that will approve anyone because they’re interested in getting your money. Kaiser has a team of doctors that will evaluate you, including a psychologist, nutritionist, and surgeons who will ensure that this is the best solution for you.”
I was just shocked that it’s come to this. I always looked at weight loss surgery as sort of giving up (not that I’m judging anyone who’s had it, just for me). I always thought that if I put my mind to it, and ate well and exercised I should be able to lose the weight on my own.
The thing is, I have been dieting on and off since jr. high to no real result. And I know that each time I diet, lose weight, and regain it, I am slowing down my metabolism even more. At this point I think my metabolism is so destroyed that the lap band surgery may be the thing that I need to do to get myself to a healthy weight once and for all.
That’s what I meant when I said that it was something that is making me rethink everything. I know it’s going to be a huge shift in lifestyle, but I do think I’m ready for it. My #1 goal for years now has been to lose weight, and I just can’t seem to make it happen. I realize that lap band surgery is just a tool to help control portions, and not a magical surgery that will guarantee weight loss. One of my friends had the lap band surgery 2 years ago, and she has only lost 20 pounds. Admittedly, she hasn’t follow the “rules” outlined as part of the new lifestyle and food restrictions that go along with the lap band surgery, and actually has it “opened” all the way up, so she hasn’t utilized it the way that it should be. So, I have a very real cautionary tale to show that the surgery itself is not a miracle fix for obesity. Having a lap band still requires hard work, healthy eating, and exercise.
I’ve spent every day since Thursday thinking about what having the surgery would mean, researching the process and procedure online, and watching tons of YouTube videos made by people who have had the lap band procedure done. It’s been really good to see the realities of life with the lap band. The average weight loss is 1-2 pounds a week, so it’s not a drastic weight loss by any means. It does require a special diet, especially in the first couple of weeks after the band gets “filled” to be tighter around the stomach. But by and large you can still eat lots of different types of foods, and it’s not as much of a dietary restriction as the gastric bypass is. I’ve discussed all of this with my family, and they completely support the decision to find out more information about the lap band and eventually seek approval for the procedure.
I am so thankful that I went to the doctor when these headaches persisted, because I listened to my body and was able to catch a dangerous health risk before it got more serious. I am approaching the lap band process with an open mind, and I look forward to finding out more when I go to the informational meeting in July. This isn’t going to be a 1-2-3 process. From what I’ve read (although I will find out for sure in July), the process takes 6 months during which time I’ll be attending educational classes, requires me to show that I can lose 20 pounds on my own by following a suggested nutrition plan, and involves lots of different physical and psychological exams. Kaiser will cover the surgery because it is a health risk, but they also want to make sure that the patient understands the risks, knows the lifestyle commitment, and is full informed about the entire process. Which makes me feel very comfortable.
My Weight Loss Plan Moving Forward
One of the main things I’m trying to do right now is stay calm and alleviate stress as much as I can. I’ve thought long and hard about what this means in terms of my weight loss efforts at this point, and I’ve come to some decisions and changes that I plan to make.
- I’m going to continue to track my food using WW eTools, but I’m going to approach it in a more intuitive eating manner, rather than being overly obsessed with the number of Points I’m eating.
- My food choices are going to revolve around eating a balanced diet of protein, dairy, fruits & veggies, and whole grains, as they have for the last year or so.
- I am going to continue to live an active lifestyle, incorporating a variety of methods in order to keep exercise fun so that I’ll look forward to it each day. One of the ways I’m going to be active is by joining Scale Warfare’s EA Sports Active Challenge, maybe you should too.
- I will continue to write on this blog. I considered taking a hiatus from it, but I love writing too much to give it up.
Changes to the Blog
- I’ll still keep you guys updated on my weight loss journey, but I’m going to be writing more about the fun and interesting things that happen in my life that don’t revolve around weight loss. I’ve been feeling obsessed/single-minded for the last couple of years, and it’s time to start living life and not focusing so narrowly on weight loss.
- I’m not going to write weekly weigh-in posts anymore, at least until the summer is over. I’ll still be monitoring my weight, but I don’t want to post about it anymore. I put so much pressure on myself when I lose “too little” or gain “some,” and I just don’t want to focus on that anymore. I want to use the fit of my clothes to be more of an indicator than the display on the scale.
- I’m not going to write in such a regimented or planned way anymore. No more designations for topics based on days of the week (i.e. Fitness Fridays). I’m going to write posts as the mood strikes, and not because I feel that I “have” to.
What won’t change is that I will still need and want your support, encouragement, and comments. I will still keep reading everyone’s blogs because they’re so inspirational and motivational to me. I am looking forward to the positive changes that I’m making in my life and on this blog. I feel such a sense of peace and contentment.
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