I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, because I think this is the number one misconception about weight-loss surgery – that somehow by choosing to have weight-loss surgery I am being lazy (after all, since I’m obese I must already be lazy anyway, right?) and don’t want to “do the work” required to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.
I read stories of weight loss and somehow they always need to be qualified – “I lost 200 pounds, no surgery”. Does that somehow make you a better person? But people feel they need to say it, because of those that don’t understand what weight-loss surgery is about (including some formerly obese people who have lost weight “the hard way”).
You know what I say to that? Bullshit.
Anyone who spews crap like the statement above is one thing: ignorant. And I mean that in ALL of the ways it can be construed. Rude and uneducated for sure, just for a start.
First and foremost, yes, saying something like this makes you rude and inconsiderate, any way you slice it. I can bet that if there were a surgery to cure alcoholism or addition to smoking, people would be thrilled and everyone having it would be encouraged to do so, to make them healthier. Would you tell an alcoholic that if they could have surgery to “fix” their alcoholism that they were “doing it the easy way” and that somehow there was more merit in doing it “cold turkey”? Sounds ridiculous, right?
But consider that you don’t HAVE to smoke, or HAVE to drink, or even be around people who do. But you have to EAT, every day, repeatedly, and around everyone you know.
And also consider that weight-loss surgery isn’t somehow a magic solution to being fat. Ignorant people who make statements like the one above somehow seem to think that you can have weight-loss surgery, eat whatever you want, and still get skinny – but the truth is that is FAR from reality.
Weight-loss surgery is a TOOL – nothing more. You decide how you use that tool. Having surgery means that I’m having 70-90% of my stomach removed. Sound easy? And then six weeks of a liquid/pureed/soft diet? Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. What about having to take supplements and vitamins forever, because I can’t get enough nutrition from the small amount of food I’m eating? Is that easy? How about eating 600-800 calories a day of basically pure protein and no “fun” carbs, for 2 years (and then maybe 1200 calories a day for the rest of your life to maintain your weight loss – very little sugar or carbs, forever)? Sounds like a riot, right? How about gallbladder attacks, massive hair loss, and all the other fun things that come along with it? Yeah, good times. Clearly, I’m taking the easy way out here, right?
Or maybe, I’m doing it the smart way.
I’ve always been a very logical person, and logic tells me that a success rate of losing weight and keeping it off over 5-10 years of 2% is shit. But those are the statistics for diets – 98% failure rate. What kind of person sees a stat like that and thinks, “Great, sign me up for that diet thing?”. A large majority of the population actually – and the reasons are too many to mention, but consider that the diet industry is one of the most lucrative, and yet the return on your investment is? Yeah…exactly. Big fat (literally) FAILURE.
Even IF (and that’s a big if) I could agree that surgery was the “easier” way, why does that mean that I should somehow be ashamed of doing things the easy way? Doing things the hard way may build character I suppose, but what else does it get you? I mean, look at it this way – you don’t need to drive to work right? You could walk the 20 miles (hey, it would be healthier for you). Clearly, you are weak chump, since you choose to drive instead of walking. You should be ashamed, car driver! You are clearly inferior to people who walk.
See? Silly isn’t it? If the walkers and the drivers all eventually get to work, then aren’t they equally successful at the ultimate goal? Should we all be shunning any kind of short-cuts or anything that makes our lives easier in favour of working as hard as possible at everything? Didn’t think so.
The thing is, you can’t convince me that what I’m doing is easy (or “cheating”, or “being lazy” or “weak” or any of the number of things I’ve heard about having WLS).
Partially because I’m stubborn, and mostly because you’re wrong.
Could I lose 200+ lbs without surgery? Of course, it’s possible. Would I? Probably not. Statistics and personal experience tells me so.
I absolutely admire and applaud those people who can and do lose large amounts of weight without surgery – I am in no way diminishing what their accomplishments. In fact, who knows, maybe those people are superior to me because they beat the odds. The fact is, I just don’t care. I care about getting where I need to be, and other people’s opinions just don’t really matter.
But…I do get really riled up when people make totally ignorant statements that belittle the accomplishments or positive decisions of others. It’s bullying, plain and simple, and it comes from a place of knowing that you are a failure. Yeah, I said it. It’s generally the jealousy that comes from being a failure at losing weight “the hard way” that causes that reaction. But don’t worry – you’re in good company with that 98%, so don’t feel bad.
Am I 100% confident that surgery will work for me over the long term? No, to be honest, I’m no 100% sure, because surgery is just a small part of the picture. The uncertainty lies with me, and my commitment, and that’s my real journey.
But I’m happy to educate some ignorant folks along the way.