Tummy like a Banana

Me and my vertical sleeve

What did weight loss surgery (WLS) do for me?

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I believe it is a common misconception that weight loss surgery (WLS) is like a magic wand that takes care of everything. A lot of people think it is the easy way out and that people who resort to having WLS are just too lazy to “put in the work”. This is just not true. Most people who arrive at this decision have tried everything else – most times repeatedly – and had no success.

In my case, I have probably been overweight since I am 16 years old. I was a skinny child, because I liked running around, climbing trees, playing soccer and catch. Once I hit puberty, all this stopped. Instead of running around and riding my bike, I wanted a moped and my loving parents got me one. Little did I know that this was the beginning of a long period of laziness.

In the years that follow, I believe I have tried everything. Weight loss pills, diet, exercise, Weight Watchers, weight loss support groups which I attended with my Mom, starvation, Grapefruit diet, Lemon cleanse, portion control, back to Weight Watchers, low carb, high protein – nothing worked for me. I shouldn’t say that – all of those helped me lose weight -neither helped me to keep it off.

For people like me, losing weight is similar to Sisyphus‘ task. It is like pushing a giant boulder up a hill – you have to keep pushing and pushing, and if you reach the top of the hill you have to keep holding it together. There is no plateau on the top of the hill where you can put your boulder down and rest. The boulder must be held with all your strength and if you don’t pay attention, it will slowly roll down the hill again.

If I think of my weight loss surgery, I think of it as something that shrunk my boulder to a manageable size – something that I can push up the hill and that doesn’t require all the strength I can muster up and all my attention every single moment of my life. It also frees me of THINKING about food, exercise, calories every second of my wake life, and I can deal with food like a normal person – eat when I am hungry, get satisfied after a reasonable amount of food, not think about it until it is breakfast/lunch/dinner time again.

Now, it doesn’t magically take care of everything. I still have to plan my meals, and I have to pay careful attention to my protein intake (at least 60g a day) – but as long as I have that covered, I can eat whatever I want. From online communities I came to realize that a lot of people still diet in some way, shape or form by trying to cut out carbohydrates, sugar or reduce fat but so far I don’t feel like this is necessary. The small portions that I am eating post-surgery make this unnecessary and I can eat any type of food that other people have been eating all their life. I don’t need to eat low fat, low carb, low calorie foods and this is so liberating.

I am now approximately 9 weeks post-surgery and I have not regretted my decision even a second of it. I would do it again, I would recommend it to everyone who is in the same situation I was and I am hoping for everyone who has been dealing with these demons to find the peace and happiness that I have found by getting vertical sleeve gastrectomy.

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