My journey to weight loss surgery

I’ve been overweight basically my whole life, as I’ve mentioned before. When I was a teen, I learned some pretty awful eating & dieting habits, and didn’t appreciate my body & realize how thin I actually was. After I got pregnant with Avery, the pounds quickly piled on due to my severely decreased mobility. And well, here I am today.

3 or 4 years ago now, I can’t remember the exact year, I started to look into WLS (weight loss surgery) for the first time. My doing so came from a place of great fear – I was terrified of what my future would hold, of becoming fatter and fatter, of one day being someone you hear about on the news that had fused to their furniture because they could no longer move.

I read all the books, joined the forums, and did all the pre-op testing. All that was left was getting approval from my doctor. The first doctor I saw had originally approved of the surgery, and asked me to do a 3 month supervised diet, which I did. However on month 3, when I called to request my note clearing me for surgery – she decided not to. She wanted me to do an additional 3 months of dieting with her, because SHE was opposed to WLS in general, and felt diet alone could help me.

Nevermind the fact that I have struggled with this for years, and tried many diet plans during my time.

This made me understandably furious, and I left her practice immediately and found a new doctor who supported me (and respected me), who was willing to give me nutritional counseling (with an actual dietitian), and approve the surgery after my 3 month diet with her. But after awhile, I realized the procedure just wasn’t right for me at that time. And that doing it for the reasons I was doing it for was not going to help me. I was also new to the Body Positive movement and still finding my place, and accepting these new ideas about myself, my diet, & my weight.

Then last year, I decided to start the journey again, for the right reasons this time (which I’ll elaborate on in a bit) – but the timing just wasn’t right. We lived several hours from the nearest surgery center that would do the procedure, and the process of getting in at the on post hospital seemed daunting to me. Plus my husband was in school full time, as he reclassed to a Prime Power Specialist, so he couldn’t exactly take off a few days when I had my procedure like he could if we were stationed at a normal unit & not in training.

Which brings me to now – we are at our next duty station, I found a fantastic doctor that is only an hour away, and I’m finally in the right mental space to make the changes I need.

When I first decided to have this procedure, I couldn’t decide whether or not I should share my story. My primary concerns were that having this surgery meant I was superficial, that I was taking drastic, unneeded measures, and that others would think I was a hypocrite for going down this path.

But honestly, screw those people! I’ve always found myself to be the sort of person that is willing to speak up & be a little more open, to take the heat, to risk the embarrassment, so that others who were going through the same things or had the same questions would know they aren’t alone. And this was no different.

So here are my reasons, in no particular order, that motivated me to choose WLS, and that I’m looking forward to once I’ve dropped the weight:

  • Not running out of breath when I walk to and from the bus stop to get my daughter from school
  • Being free from back pain when walking long distances
  • Being able to tie my shoes easily without boobs getting in the way
  • Being able to shop in regular stores, and get cute & cheap items quickly & easily
  • Getting to shop designer fashion without going to a specialty store that is 2x as expensive
  • Buying bras from regular stores, and not needing to pay $50 plus for a single bra
  • Being able to find & wear cute underwear and bras
  • Having a tummy tuck to get rid of the blasted pooch I’ve had since I gave birth to Avery
  • Getting a boob lift & reduction so I’m not an I cup (yes, I cup. As in the letter that comes after H. Also see point about tying my shoes)
  • Buying all the boots
  • Taking my family to a theme park and getting to enjoy the rides
  • Getting my belly button pierced
  • Being able to enjoy exercise again, without the physical pain that comes from simply moving
  • No longer needing to worry about being charged extra if I ever need to take a plane trip somewhere
  • Getting to ride a bike again w/o my ass killing me

And I’m sure there are many more that just aren’t coming to me right now.

These are my personal goals. They might not appeal to everyone, and that’s ok. We all want different things for our futures. But they don’t make me vain, or superficial, and they aren’t “bad” reasons for wanting surgery (or for even losing weight in general).

For anyone reading this who is considering surgery, please know you aren’t alone. While no one seems to want to talk about it, more people than you realize have had WLS and are now living healthy, happy lives. It’s not “cheating” , it’s not the “easy way out”. It’s a long, hard road. But I believe the end result is worth it.

For anyone reading this that is in the “plus sized” category, but not looking to lose weight or have surgery – just keep on being awesome, and enjoy your body in every way! Our bodies are blessings – no matter their shape, size, or ability. It’s your vehicle through life, and I hope you are able to enjoy as many days as you can with it, before time & age run their course.

And to those who has lost weight through traditional means or never struggled with their weight – you’re fab too. Please give your fat friends love and support, and do what you can to learn about their journey. No one has the exact same experience as another, so give them the space to live their life.

And to everyone else – please be kind to those around you. Choose your words with care, and take a moment to learn about those who are different from you. Don’t “concern troll” your friends or probably even worse, strangers, with thoughts about their health & weight. You do not know what they’ve been through, and you certainly do not know where they are going. Every single person has the right to exist, and to experience love & happiness where they are right now. And for many people, learning to love their bodies is the key to taking care of their bodies. <3